MOHAMED Elyounoussi has revealed he was determined to prove Neil Lennon had been wrong to leave him out of the Celtic starting line-up when he took to the field against Riga on Thursday night.

Norwegian winger Elyounoussi came on and netted a dramatic last-minute winner in the Skonda Stadium to send the Scottish champions through to the Europa League play-off.

The Southampton loanee has been on the bench in all four of the matches the Parkhead club have played since the international break.

He stressed that Lennon, whose side has a hectic schedule of domestic and European fixtures to negotiate in the 2020/21 campaign, has told him not to be downhearted about his omissions.

However, Elyounoussi admitted he has found not being involved difficult and has attempted to show his manager he deserves to start with his performances in training and matches.

He is hoping his contribution in Latvia has improved his chances of kicking off the Premiership game against Hibernian at Celtic Park tomorrow and the play-off match against Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina next week.

“From my point of view, of course, it is challenging,” he said. “But I don’t think there is anyone who can say anything. I’ve been professional from a training point of view and I have tried to talk with my feet.

“There is nothing to be frustrated about. I take it as a challenge to prove the manager wrong and to prove people wrong. The best way to do that is to talk with your feet by coming into the team and contributing.

“That’s the way it is both in the training and in the games. You just have to take your opportunity.

“Of course, like everyone else, you want to play in every game, but there isn’t anyone who can say I’m not being professional and working hard and I don’t think anyone can say I didn’t deserve the goal.

“As an athlete, there are a lot of things that are mental and you have to be mentally strong and prepared. These are two ways you can go.

"Either you can get frustrated, you don’t care anymore and you go around being sad. Or you take the other choice to work hard and try everything. For me, there is only one option. It’s the second one.”

He added: “The manager has said to me that I am going to play matches and not to worry about that, but, like I said earlier, every player wants to play in every game.

“Even though there are a lot of games to play throughout the season, I am fit and my body is fit. I can handle it. It’s never been a problem before and, hopefully, it won’t be a problem going forward. I’ll just look at each game at a time.

“It was an important goal in the last minute against Riga and it was a good one. I enjoy playing in the European games. I have some experience in them and of scoring goals and you just want to go into those sort of games and help the team to win.”