ODSONNE EDOUARD kicked off the new campaign with a neat hat-trick as Celtic embarked upon their quest for 10 successive titles with a comprehensive 5-1 triumph over Hamilton Accies at Parkhead.
The French ace completed last season with a 28-goal haul and was on target in the 5-0 win over St Mirren on March 7 before football went into cold storage a few days later due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edouard showed he has lost none of the sharpness that has made him such a sought-after striker, despite the lack of competitive action for almost five months of lockdown.
Boss Neil Lennon was delighted with the overall performance of the champions and singled out the club’s talisman to tell the Celtic website: “His finishes were great because they’re a striker’s goals.
“Sometimes you think of Odsonne scoring brilliant individual goals, but in this match he got across the near post on one, while the first one was a tap-in. And that’s another thing he’s adding to his game – the volume of goals as well as all-round great play.
FRENCH FANCY…Odsonne Edouard knocks in the opener in the 5-1 win over Hamilton Accies.
“As a team we looked vibrant, we looked strong and there was a lot of power in the side. They were great deliveries for the goals. It’s something that we all work on, the combination plays, and the final ball was there, but you’ve got to be in there to score them, as well. The goal where Jamesy broke down the right – he showed great pace and power, it was a great ball in and a great finish.”
Lennon was also more than satisfied with the attacking instincts of full-backs Jeremie Frimpong and Greg Taylor with the Dutch teen sensation scoring the second goal and the Scotland international setting up the first two strikes with inviting low crosses from the left.
DUTCH TREAT…Jeremie Frimpong thumps in No.2.
There was another plus in Patryk Klimala coming on as a substitute for Edouard late in the game and netting his first competitive goal for the Hoops as he slotted his effort low past Accies hero Ryan Fulton.
The Irishman said: “What you’ve seen with Patryk is that he showed some physical power, which is something he’s worked on himself. He’s hungry and he’s showed great pace to get away and it was a great finish.
“I’m thrilled for him, he totally deserves it and it was a great way to finish off what was a really good performance.”
POLE-AXED…Patryk Klimala celebrates his first competitive goal for the Hoops.
Taking an overall view of the encounter, Lennon added: “I thought we were a bit too passive for my liking in the first-half, but in the second the team gave me everything that I wanted. There was real pace and power about us, we scored some great goals and generally we had good control of the game, as well.
“To win the game as convincing as that is great because you’re going a little bit into the unknown. We’ve been out for so long in terms of competitive games and you’re going to get a bit of rust there in getting the match rhythm, but I thought in the second-half, in particular, we were superb.
“There were a lot of good things in the game. There are a lot of things we still need to work on and improve on, but that’s totally understandable for where we are at the minute, but, in general, I’m absolutely delighted with that.”