Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi has touched on his hellish week with the Norwegian national team that led to him not playing a single game.
Moi and Kris Ajer were called up for the November set of international fixtures. The Norwegians were due to face Israel in a friendly before Nations League encounters against Romania and Austria respectively.
However, a Covid case for Norwegian teammate Omar Elabdellaoui led to an incredible course of events that saw their Israel and Romania clashes cancelled whilst the squad were ordered to go back to their clubs. A second team was drafted in to face Austria and performed admirably to secure a 1-1 draw. Norway’s chances of promotion to the Nations League’s A section, however, were dashed.
And Moi has been talking about the nightmare scenario in this week’s Celtic View (26/11, pages 10 and 11):
“For me personally, the international break didn’t have any game, which I would have enjoyed, but it hasn’t impacted on me negatively. It ended up being three or four days without proper team training, but Kris Ajer and I did a lot of gym work at the hotel to keep the fitness up.
“We came back on Sunday but had to wait for the green light from the government and we were back in training on Tuesday. We missed three games with Norway so I missed out on a lot of football. I’m just happy I didn’t have to isolate.
“It was a frustrating week and disappointing but there’s a pandemic going on and we have to respect and follow the rules. It’s frustrating when you see the other countries playing games but you have to accept it and concentrate on the preparation for your next game.”
Ajer did well at Hibs; Moi’s form dipped again
You could use the week they had as an excuse for the Hibs performance, but it doesn’t really stack up given Ajer performed admirably against our Premiership foes.
However, Moi again had a big dip in form when we needed more creativity from him. After bagging a hat-trick against Motherwell in our previous game, you would’ve thought that the winger would’ve been raring to go at Easter Road – another tough game.
Yet Elyounoussi was next to anonymous against the Hibees and not for the first time this season has he been difficult to notice when we’ve needed him on form. Moi has blown hot and cold this term, but his quality is undoubted. We’re talking about a player who has 14 direct goal contributions in 19 appearances (Transfermarkt). They’re still fine numbers despite the fact he still regularly has off-days.
He’s almost certainly going to start tonight vs Prague, and you get the feeling that Neil Lennon is hanging his hat on players like him to turn our season around. But he can’t continue to be so inconsistent, especially at a time when the club desperately needs him to shine.
Of course, he wasn’t the only one to fail in impressing at Easter Road. The likes of Ryan Christie, Tom Rogic, and Albian Ajeti were next to anonymous too. That’s not good enough for a side looking to secure 10-in-a-row this season.
Hopefully we see some sort of reaction against Prague tonight, but personally, I’m sick of asking to see one.