IT’S funny how quickly things can change. Cast your minds back, if you will, to just one year ago.

The chief medical officer of the UK described the likelihood of a new mysterious virus originating in China reaching these borders as escalating from ‘very low’, to ‘low’. Regardless, Matt Hancock assured us that the country was eminently well prepared for any such outbreak. Thank goodness for that.

Tens of thousands of independence supporters marched through Glasgow demanding a second referendum, with the crowd at such close quarters to one another that it now looks like a scene from a different planet, never mind a different era.

And the burning topic in Scottish football? Who is better, Odsonne Edouard or Alfredo Morelos?

Can it really just 12 months ago that those tedious debates were rumbling on? In fairness, by this point last term, Morelos had banged in 28 goals, while Edouard had 18 to his name. The drop-off in Morelos’s form started soon after, with just one more goal scored in the rest of the season, while Edouard caught up to finish just one behind on 28 for the campaign.

This season, the debate between which of the two has been the most disappointing would be a much keener contest. Morelos has just eight goals in all competitions this season, albeit playing a slightly different role for Rangers, while Edouard has 12.

Still, we’re not here to rehash or settle that old argument. I remain an admirer of both players, and no doubt there are scouts out there who remain so too.

In terms of all-round ability, I always felt that Edouard stood the greater chance of going on to reach the top of the game, and it seems as though the young Frenchman has decided that the time has come to make his break from Celtic as he looks to move to the next level.

The news this week that he has joined the Stellar Group, the agency who Kieran Tierney signed up with shortly before making the move to Arsenal, suggests that Edouard is looking to pastures new.

There will be few Celtic supporters shocked by this development. It was acknowledged by Celtic manager Neil Lennon that his forward had his head turned by speculation linking him with a move away from the club last summer, after all.

The forward was clearly unsettled during those opening weeks of the season, looking a pale imitation of the player he once was right up to being hooked after a dismal display against St Johnstone on the day before the extended transfer window closed.

Lennon rebuked Edouard for his attitude in his post-match presser, while expressing the hope that the striker would now be able to get his head back on all matters Celtic. He didn't have time to, returning a positive Covid-19 test a day later while on international duty with the French under-21s.

His recovery from the virus took time, as did his recovery of form. Slowly but surely though, Edouard has started to look more like his old self, hitting three goals in his last five games and generally appearing much sharper than he previously had.

Just as the patience of the Celtic management and support with their star man appears to be on the cusp of being rewarded then, it must come as something of a slap on the face to hear that he is already preparing the ground for a summer exit route from the club, however resigned they may have been to losing him at the end of the season in any case.

The question for the club now is whether or not they should cash in their chips on Edouard and get as much money as possible for him this month, or hold onto him in the hope that he can somehow fire them back into the title race. That may be a forlorn hope, and not only because of the 19-point gap that exists between Celtic and Rangers at present.

There is a perception that Edouard has already been guilty of downing tools during the most significant season in Celtic’s recent history, so how much enthusiasm he might have for the battle that lies ahead to salvage at least a credible defence of their crown in the second half of the campaign, only he could tell you.

There is little doubt that on his day, and based on pure ability, Edouard is up there with any of the great strikers you care to mention in Celtic’s recent past, save for Henrik Larsson. But this season, those days have been few and far between.

Given that Paris Saint Germain are due a hefty percentage of any future fee, there must now be a temptation - within the Celtic boardroom at least – to maximise the money they can recoup for Edouard this month.

From the manager’s perspective though, that is a move that must be resisted at all costs. The partnership between Edouard and Leigh Griffiths is starting to fire once more, and if they can replicate the form they had between last January and March when the pair were virtually unplayable, then Celtic might just have an outside sniff at reeling in Rangers after all.

Any moved to sell now would be seen as a tacit acceptance that the league has gone, which also says much about £5m Albian Ajeti and £3m Patryk Klimala.

It has been argued that as a 22-year-old Frenchman, Edouard will care little if his lack of focus this season has contributed to blowing ‘The Ten’. But if he cares at all about how he is remembered by the Celtic supporters, then he owes them a massive second half of the season before he departs for pastures new.