IN anyone’s book, a return of seven goals in 20 appearances from a wide position represents a decent return, and those statistics were part of the reason that Celtic manager Neil Lennon was so keen to bring Mohamed Elyounoussi back to the club for next season.

Having sealed that deal last night to spend another campaign on loan at Celtic Park from Southampton though, Elyounoussi admitted to an itch he feels needed scratched, and that was showing the Celtic supporters exactly what he was capable of.

Despite those impressive showings during his first year at Celtic, the Norwegian’s season was disrupted by injury, but for which he feels he would have been able to contribute even more than he did to the club’s title success and creditable European run. A troublesome foot injury heavily interrupted his winter, and led to him sitting out of action for two months.

So, his message to the Celtic supporters is simple; you haven’t seen anything yet.

“It is an interesting season ahead, and I think I can do more than what I did last season,” he told Celtic TV. “Obviously, the injury stopped everything for me, so I will try to give even more from myself this year.

“In the end, I just want to talk with my feet. Me and the boys have been working hard in the break. The physical coaches have been doing exceptional work to give us work at home, and we’ve been training well, and now that we’re back training. It’s been good and we’re looking forward for the season to start.”

If the personal challenge of playing a bigger role for Celtic next season was a draw for Elyounoussi, then so too was the cause to which he sees himself as capable of making a vital contribution to.

He may only have been in Glasgow for a relatively short time, but he is well aware of the historical weight that is attached to next season for the club, and is more than confident that he and his teammates can handle the pressure associated with chasing the as yet elusive tenth title in a row.

“It’s maybe one of the biggest seasons in the history of Celtic, so no pressure!” he said. “But we’re looking forward to it. We’ve been working really hard and I’m sure all the other teams in the league have been working hard to try to stop us.

“But we’re going to give everything. I hope that we can play the games with our fans as soon as possible, because with their help, hopefully we can achieve something great.

“I’m actually surprised at how good the passing drills and the touches from everyone have been, even though it’s been over two months without football, so everyone is determined and motivated to give their best.

“The winning mentality is still there, even if it is just a passing drill, or when we start playing games in training. Everyone wants to win all the time, and that’s going to help us hopefully achieve our goals.”

Nevertheless, even with those carrots dangling in front of Elyounoussi and his eagerness to embrace the challenge of etching his name in the Celtic record books next term, it was perhaps feeling truly wanted that swayed the winger when it came to plumping for a return to Scotland over other suitors such as Real Betis.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has never hidden his desire to bring Elyounoussi back to the club, saying as recently as a fortnight ago that he was still eager to secure the 25-year-old for next season along with Southampton teammate Fraser Forster.

Being wanted by the men in the dugout was one thing, but Elyounoussi was also overwhelmed by a bombardment of messages from Celtic supporters begging him to come back to the club, a factor that figured into his reckoning when it came to making his final call.

“I’m very happy,” he said.

“It’s a proud moment for myself and my family. We’re very happy in Glasgow. I enjoyed my first year here. I enjoy working with the coaching staff and the players, everyone at the club, so it was an easy choice really.

“Since the league stopped, I got a lot of positive messages from fans. They told me what they thought about me, and for me to take another year, and I have to say, that made the choice even easier.

“It’s hard to say no when you get so many messages and feedback – love from the fans, and obviously I will try to give something back. The fans, of course, are one of the reasons why I’m staying here another year.”