NEIL Lennon has revealed that Celtic have made bringing in another striker their priority this summer – and could spend as much as they lavished on record signing Odsonne Edouard last year in order to get one.

Edouard, who cost the Scottish champions £9m from Paris Saint-Germain last June, has been the only specialist centre forward who Lennon has had at his disposal since taking over as interim manager at Parkhead back in February.

Leigh Griffiths, who has returned to training at Lennoxtown, has been sidelined as he attempts to address off-field issues while Vakoun Issouf Bayo, who was bought for £2m in January, has been ruled out for the season after suffering a ruptured hamstring.

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Lennon, who has admitted that a major rebuilding job is required in the East End in the close season, has been helping Celtic with their recruitment even though he is unsure if he is going to remain in charge beyond the William Hill Scottish Cup final next month.

The Northern Irishman revealed he was in Paris earlier this week looking at a player the Celtic scouting staff had identified as a potential signing target and that John Kennedy, the first team coach, has also been away watching players who had attracted their interest.

The 47-year-old, who signed Griffiths, Gary Hooper, Teemu Pukki and Anthony Stokes, during his first spell as Celtic manager, conceded that bringing in a prolific scorer capable of playing at the highest level in Europe would cost a significant sum.

However, he stressed that he has been impressed with how Edouard has performed during the 2018/19 campaign - the 21-year-old has netted 20 goals in all competitions - and feels he has justified the outlay that was required to secure his services.

“Centre forward would be the position I would look at if I was the manager,” he said. “We’ve been doing that (suggesting targets) over the last few weeks. John’s been away, I’ve been away.

“In fact, when we got the news about Billy (McNeill), I was in Paris, at a game the night before. We are very much doing some work anyway, regardless. Looking at players that have been recommended or maybe somebody else in that game catches your eye.

“You go with your gut instincts. It’s not an exact science, some you get wrong. But in the main we’ve done okay so we’ll be looking for that bit of freshness . . . if I am here to freshen things up a bit because these boys need a hand now."

Lennon added: “They (strikers) cost money. But I’ve been delighted with him (Edouard), absolutely delighted with him. He has had to do a lot. It is difficult playing up there on your own when you’ve got two big bears wanting to stop you, but he does it very, very well.

“I think he’s a better player than what I first envisaged him to be. I’ve been delighted with his contribution up until now. In the past couple of months he’s been outstanding.

“Listen, centre forward is the hard position to play; scoring goals is the hardest thing to do. There are 11 people out there trying to stop you from doing it. But he’s taken on the burden very, very well.

“In this day and age it’s decent business for the club, when you think about it. I think he’s improved as the season has gone on. He’s paid back a huge chunk of his transfer fee with really important goals this season."

Asked if Celtic could spend big again to land another striker, Lennon said: “Possibly. Or, you could find them out there and, depending on players’ situations with their contracts, wages, that sort of stuff, you may be able to get good players for less.”

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Lennon has admitted he would have liked to have played with two men up front since taking over from Brendan Rodgers on a temporary basis with three months of the season remaining.

“Sometimes I want to play with two strikers, but I’ve not had that luxury,” he said. “I’m not saying I am going to play two all the time but I think it’s something that certainly you could set your team up with to vary the balance of the attack sometimes.”