ODSONNE EDOUARD and Ryan Christie bade farewell to Celtic and their supporters after their double switch to England on the last day of the transfer deadline.
The 23-year-old French striker agreed a five-year contract with Crystal Palace as the clubs agreed on an up-front fee of £14million which will rise to £18.5million.
The Scotland international midfielder, who was out of contract at the turn of the year, signed a three-year deal with Championship outfit Bournemouth with the Hoops recouping something in the region of £1million.
Edouard and Christie brought an end the transfer saga that had followed them around for over a year with the double-act looking to leave the Parkhead club last summer. Kristoffer Ajer, too, let it be known he expected to move on, but the trio were kept to their contracts while the team made a bid for the historic tenth successive title.
FRENCH FANCY…Odsonne Edouard in his new club colours of Crystal Palace.
The campaign fell apart and Neil Lennon paid a heavy price by losing the job he loved in February only two days after an unacceptable 1-0 loss against relegation-threatened Ross County in Dingwall.
Ajer joined Brentford in a £13.5million switch and has now been joined by Edouard and Christie across the border.
The frontman who hit 86 goals in just over four years at the club paid a touching tribute to his former team-mates, board and fans after sealing his move to the Selhurst Park outfit.
He sent a heartfelt message on social media, stating: “All great things must come to an end. my time at Celtic has come to an end.
“I have wonderful memories at my time with the club. I can not thank the fans enough for the support and love through out my 4 years with the club.
“I would like to thank the players, board and everyone connected to the club.
“I wish the club all the best for the future. @CelticFC”
Christie also revealed it had been “a massive decision” to quit the Hoops – especially after the early impact of new boss Ange Postecoglou.
The 26-year-old midfielder, who is currently in Copenhagen and could get the nod to play for the Scots against Denmark this evening in the first of a World Cup qualifying triple-header, thought long and hard before moving on.
Ange Postecoglou has swept in with the force of a whirlwind and, despite some setbacks, has reinvigorated the club.
Christie, though, has chosen to take his skills elsewhere and the player who cost £500,000 from Inverness Caley Thistle in the summer of 2015 said: “It was a massive decision, especially with the new manager coming in at Celtic and the club starting really well.
“Everything was very positive after a frustrating season last year. So, it was about sitting down and weighing up my options, but I came to the decision that I was desperate to try this challenge and it’s the perfect time for me to try it.
“I’ve had six great and successful years at Celtic and, hopefully, that can help me even more in coming down and doing really well for Bournemouth.”
FAREWELL HOOPS AND HELLO BOURNEMOUTH…Ryan Christie sends a selfie to the fans.
Christie, speaking to the club website, added: “I’ve always wanted to try my hand down in England and I’m really excited to join a team who’s going for promotion, going out to win games and achieve success.
“I’m used to that at Celtic, so, hopefully, I can help bring that to Bournemouth.
“Moving to England will be tough, but the one positive in this stage of my career is with what I’ve achieved so far. I’ve had the opportunity before in my younger days to head down and give England a try, but I’ve now got much more confidence in myself in coming and feeling ready for it.
“It’ll be hectic for sure, but I’m more than used to that. With Celtic over the last few years, the schedule’s been mental when playing in Europe, so I’m more than used to that.
“I’m sure that first game for Bournemouth will roll round in no time. Hopefully, it will be off the back of a successful international break – I’ll be ready to go.”
The Scots face Moldova at Hampden on Saturday night before completing the quickfire trio in Austria on Tuesday.
And then Christie can get on with his new club career when Bournemouth take on Barnsley at Dean Court a week on Saturday.