ODSONNE EDOUARD is ready to make his first European start for Celtic in the first leg of the Champions League qualifiers against Alashkert in Armenia on July 10.
The 20-year-old French striker, who agreed a record-breaking deal with the Hoops in the summer, made three substitute appearances in games against former club Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht and Zenit St Petersburg, all in Glasgow last season.
Edouard and the rest of the champions’ squad who are not at the World Cup reported back for pre-season on Monday and will head out to Austria this weekend to step up preparations for the Euro tie next month.
But boss Brendan Rodgers admitted he’s in the dark about the Armenians although he is aware it’s not just a team his men need to handle – it’s the sweltering conditions. It could be approaching 40 degrees in the very edge of Europe and there’s a 7,000-mile round trip to plot.
The double treble-winning gaffer admitted these encounters were a culture shock when he first arrived, but he’s up to speed now following two successful back-to-back campaigns.
He said: “It all goes very quickly from the last game of the season. It was important to get a break but it’s great to have everyone back and motivated.
“I don’t know much about Alashkert – but I will do before we play. In my experience of these games, they are always tricky ties.
“Whether it is heat or travel, you have to prepare as best you can. The first leg being away, we will have to deal with it and then we have the second leg at home.
“The objective over the two legs is to qualify and however that comes at this stage of the season, that is all we are looking to do.”