THE ongoing travails of Leigh Griffiths and the injury woes of Vakoun Issouf Bayo have meant that Celtic’s reliance on Odsonne Edouard have become even more pronounced in recent weeks. So much so, that it may cause their fans a shudder to think where they might be without him.

His scintillating form this season though won’t have gone unnoticed elsewhere according to former Celtic striker John Hartson, who says that his old club should be braced for bids for the French under-21 internationalist in the January window.

With Edouard on a long-term deal, there is no prospect of Celtic losing him on the cheap, but Hartson has warned that even if the money on offer for the striker is astronomical, it may cost Celtic more in terms of silverware if they were to sell in the New Year without adequate cover in place.


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“The offers will come in and it’s then up to Celtic what they do,” Hartson said. “But one of the reasons Moussa Dembele maybe moved on was because they had Edouard waiting in the wings, and Brendan [Rodgers] paid £9 million for him so they realised his potential.

“He’s certainly in the type of bracket as Dembele if Celtic consider selling him. You look at what Dembele went for. Edouard is younger, a French Under-21 player. Edouard’s got the world at his feet and he’ll get better and better. He’s on a long-term contract so Celtic won’t be too worried, but he wouldn’t go for cheap, that’s for sure.

“If you look at what Dembele went for then Edouard is certainly in that type of bracket if Celtic ever consider selling him.

“Celtic have shown they can play Ryan Christie further up, while James Forrest can also play off the front. Mohamed Elyounoussi is also a forward-thinking player.

“[But] Celtic are a little light in terms of back-up to Edouard, although Leigh Griffiths is on his way back.”

On the other side of the city, similar discussions are centring upon Alfredo Morelos. Whereas Rangers do have a more than capable stand-in in the shape of Jermain Defoe, it is widely accepted among their supporters that retaining the Colombian is critical to their hopes of sustaining a title challenge.

Hartson is a huge fan of both players – though he cites Edouard’s knack of turning up in Old Firm games as making him the more valuable commodity - and is looking forward to seeing them shoot it out over the reminder of the campaign if both can be kept in Scotland past the winter break.

“I don’t want to say which is better,” he said. “Edouard is more proven. He’s done it on a more consistent basis.


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"He’s scored in Old Firm games, you look at his goals at Ibrox when he popped up and cut inside to score a brilliant winner. For now, look at Edouard and he seems to have done it in the bigger games.

“But you look at Morelos and consistently he’s banging them in for fun and you can’t deny him.

They’re both in good form. If you look at it, if you’re Rangers you say Morelos and Celtic you say Edouard. Edouard might not get the volume of goals Morelos does he still gets the big goals.

“I don’t know if Morelos has more to prove. He got 30 goals last season, which is a good return. There’s no doubt the boy can score goals.

“Steven Gerrard says he has no interest in selling him in January and why would you? He is young enough that if he doesn’t go in January, he could go in the summer.

“I’m sure Steven is desperate to keep him because he knows how much of a threat he is. Whether you like him or loathe him, he is back in amongst the goals again this season.

“He is a pest, he doesn’t give you an inch. Both teams have good attacking options.”

Hartson says Celtic should be wary of Morelos in the remaining Old Firm fixtures this season, with the striker no doubt desperate to prove a point.

“It’s an opportunity to stay hungry and to want to face Celtic all the time,” he said.

“Kris Boyd had a similar record. He was a fantastic scorer in the SPL but I think he only got one against Celtic. But sometimes you can play against a team and you have good joy against them for whatever reason.

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“I remember Juninho coming up and not doing particularly well, but he played Rangers one day and he was absolutely brilliant.

“Roy Keane came to Ibrox once and absolutely dominated. He looked the best player on the pitch and I’m sure Rangers players have done that too.

“It’s the ones who deal with the pressure, the crowd, the expectancy, the nerves. All the things these games bring. It’s the ones who turn up, get on the ball when you go a goal down, they’re brave and willing to make things happen. Not the ones who hide.

“I was blessed, I played in many Old Firm games. Lots of joy but one or two heartache moments too.”

Hartson is meanwhile pleased to see his old teammate Neil Lennon projecting a sense of calmness on his second time around as Celtic manager.

“When you get older you get wiser,” he said. “You learn. Children come along and become teenagers and you become more responsible and Neil’s no different. He seems a lot calmer and has great people under him.

“The time I spend with Neil he feels very comfortable in his skin and where he’s at in terms of his team.”