THE monotonous Odsonne Edouard guessing game which has hung around Celtic for over a year will be answered before 11pm tomorrow night.
The will-he-go-or-will-he-stay saga will go into abeyance – at least for another five months – when the transfer deadline passes.
Edouard has been linked with a £15million switch to Crystal Palace over the weekend while other clubs such as Everton, Brighton, Bordeaux and Rubin Kazan have been watching his current situation.
The club record purchase at £9million from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2018 is in the last year of his contract and can walk away as a free agent next summer if he doesn’t move in the next two windows.
Edouard has taken the Hoops followers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but it would be fair to say he has not sparked during the intense speculation since last summer when all sorts of transfer fees were mentioned and just about every top club in Europe appeared to be interested in the 23-year-old frontman.
He marked a fairly anonymous 68 minutes at Ibrox yesterday with a horrendous miss in the 25th minute when he lamentably failed to hit the target from six yards after being set up by Kyogo Furuhashi. It was a costly piece of lack of marksmanship at a crucial part of the confrontation and a heavy price was paid when Filip Helander headed in the only goal which immediately brought the hook for the Frenchman.
TREBLE TREBLE YELL…Odsonne Edouard races away after scoring the 2019 Scottish Cup winner against Hearts keeper Bobby Zlamal – the strike that sealed the phenomenal ninth successive domestic trophy for the Hoops.
THE SIGNS ARE GOOD…history-maker Odsonne Edouard is congratulated by Scott Sinclair after scoring his second goal in the 2-1 2019 Hampden triumph over the Edinburgh team. James Forrest is about to join in.
Captain Callum McGregor, however, hopes the fans will remember the player as a Celtic great if that was his last appearance in the green and white hoops.
Speaking of his team-mate, the midfielder said: “It’s obviously speculation and, hopefully, we can keep him. But, if that happens, then he’s one of the greats.
“He scored so many big goals for us. Derby goals, Cup Final goals. If that’s the case, I hope everybody remembers him in a good light. But we want to keep him, obviously.”
The enigmatic forward’s penalty-box howler was the lowlight of a performance where Celtic dominated possession for over two-thirds of the game, but only brought young keeper Robby McCrorie into action after they had fallen behind.
Kyogo had two attempts diverted to safety by the rookie netminder as Ange Postecoglou’s men sought a deserved equaliser.
ASTONISHED…Callum McGregor can’t disguise his surprise.
McGregor commented: “Kyogo has a chance, the second one he pulls across, he could maybe have a shot.
“So, for us to come and create chances and dominate the ball, we are showing we are moving in the right direction.
“There is enough for us to build and that is what we have to do. We are a relatively young team, we have to learn from that.”
Once again, an appalling inability to deal with a deadball situation – a failure that haunted the defenders throughout last season’s wretched campaign – proved decisive with Helander allowed a free header from six yards from Borna Barisic’s right-wing corner-kick that left Joe Hart helpless.
McGregor, who scored an own-goal winner from a set-piece at the same venue in January, continued: “That is the disappointing factor.
“The game is tight, both teams have chances and you lose it on a set-play. You can try to set up and deal with it, but, ultimately, when the ball comes in the box, someone needs to clear it.
CORNERED – AGAIN…Carl Starfelt is outjumped by Filip Helander for the only goal of the game.
“We take the disappointment and learn from it. We have to try to eradicate last season. It’s a different team, different manager, different players.
“We have to try to write our own story and we have to try to get better every time we play so that when we get to these moments we are strong.
“Ultimately, we have to learn from these experiences if we want to grow as a team and get better.”
The Scotland international anchorman, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “When you lose these fixtures, there is always a panic button moment and everybody jumps on it.
“Six weeks ago to where we are now, there has been a lot of progression and we can’t lose focus.
“We let everyone else do the talking, they can hype it up as much as they want.
“But the only way we are going to get better and progress is if we stay calm and listen to the manager and continue to build on the performance. If you perform well, then normally you get results.”