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SCREEN GEMS: LEGEND SALUTES CELTIC DUO

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CELTIC legend Davie Hay has admitted his old club have acted as the perfect antidote after his recent kidney transplant operation.

The former manager and player, now a club ambassador, is currently recovering at home, but has kept an eye on his old club’s progress.

And the 72-year-old iconic Hoops man is enjoying what he has been witnessing from Neil Lennon’s men as he views the action on TV.

And he has been impressed after watching two screen gems with the eight-in-a-row champions beating Hamilton Accies 4-1 on their dodgy artificial surface last weekend which was followed up by their 4-0 romp over Motherwell at Fir Park in midweek.

Hay, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “The break really seems to have come at the right time for Celtic. They look re-energised, but, for me, the biggest factor in their recent great form is their resilience.

“When you look back over the past three years, there have been times when they have had the odd wobble or they have been questioned after a defeat. They have always come back with an emphatic response. And they have done it again after the loss to Rangers over the festive period.

“Neil Lennon has switched things up, going to a 3-5-2 more often than not as Leigh Griffiths has come back into the picture and it seems to have really given them a boost in an attacking sense.

UP, UP AND AWAY…Odsonne Edouard jumps for joy after his free-kick special against Motherwell.

“Look at the Accies game. Hamilton go ahead and, yes, they then get a man sent off which killed their chances, but Celtic just kept pushing and pushing until the quality of their attacking play got them through in the end.

“The quality of the goals that day was very good and it was the same at Motherwell on Wednesday night.

“Fair play to the Fir Park side, they had a few chances in the first-half and made a decent game of it, but Celtic again stepped it up after the interval, scoring some exceptional goals with some exceptional individual performances within that.”

Hay added: “For me, the two stand-out players were Callum McGregor and Odsonne Edouard.

“In the case of Edouard, he has really come into his own this season.

“When he first came to Celtic, he played in the shadow of Moussa Dembele a little bit, and he was very young. He has now bedded in and, without question, is Celtic’s main man.

“He has a lot of pace and is deceptively strong, too. Dembele had real brute strength and, of course, could score goals, too, but I would say that Edouard is a bit silkier and has more technical ability.

PICK IT OUT…Callum McGregor races to take the plaudits from the fans after striking the third goal against Well.

“As for McGregor, you can’t really say he doesn’t get the credit for the role that he plays in Celtic’s success, but perhaps he doesn’t get enough. He was sensational at Motherwell.

“He showed with his assist for Griffiths’ goal that he is quicker than you might sometimes think, which comes from the hard work he has put in in training and the high confidence he must be playing with at the moment.

“You have to say that the change in momentum since the winter break has been stark. Just like last year, Rangers went into the winter break on Celtic’s heels, but have been left in their wake since.

“A lot of that has to do not only with the mental strength of this Celtic squad, but the depth in quality, which we saw the other night as Patryk Klimala, a £3.5million signing, Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie came off the bench.

“At the forefront of it all, though, are the two players I mentioned – McGregor and Edouard – and, while the league isn’t yet over by a long way, it is difficult to see Celtic slipping up if that pair can maintain their current scintillating form.”

 

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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