‘IF I PLAY MORE then you will see the lion. I will fight for the team, do anything for the team. I will go to war for the team and win for the team. I just want to play.’

The stirring words belonged to Ivory Coast international midfielder Eboue Kouassi shortly after he arrived at Celtic in a £2.8million switch from Russian outfit Krasnador in January 2017.

It was believed the anchorman, then only 19, had been bought by Brendan Rodgers as a long-term replacement for iconic skipper Scott Brown.

TEN AND OUT…Eboue Kouassi in one of his rare Celtic first-team appearances.

Kouassi rarely got the opportunity to display his battling tendences with a mere 10 starts before he eventually left the club in a cut-price £750,000 deal for Genk in June 2020. He had originally gone on loan to the Belgian club a year after joining up at Parkhead.

He was freed in the summer of 2023 and signed a two-year contract with Portuguese top-flight side Arouca.

Kouassi, now 26, was one of Rodgers’ more puzzling signings with the player looking totally out of his depth in his rare first-team forays which swelled to 22 with 12 substitute appearances.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the adventures of another former Celt in CQN’s EXCLUSIVE series.

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