Celtic attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi has revealed that he played December’s League Cup Final against Rangers with a broken toe, speaking to The Celtic View (11/03 print edition, page 21).
The Norwegian international’s first-half performance in that match was notably below par and he would be substituted at half-time for winger Mikey Johnston.
Although Celtic would go on to win the fixture and lift the trophy, there was a general acceptance that the Bhoys’ performance was below par and that Neil Lennon may have got the selection of Elyounoussi wrong.
The loan signing is now eager to put that all behind him and experience a ferocious derby match on Sunday.
As quoted by The Celtic View (11/03 print edition, page 21), he said when asked about his thoughts on facing Rangers: “In the League Cup Final, I played 45 minutes with a broken toe. I was delighted that we won that game, the derby and the cup, even if it wasn’t exactly ideal for me from an injury perspective.
“Everyone wants to play in these games, the big ones, especially at Ibrox. I haven’t played there, so it will be a special moment for me. I’m looking forward to it.
“We’ve got a full week’s worth of preparation under our belts before this one, which is good. We’ve trained well this week so far, and all we want now is to go there and put in a good performance.”
At this stage, it’s debatable whether or not Elyounoussi will get the chance to impress from the start in this weekend’s derby.
With Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard showing such exceptional form, it’s hard to justify either of them dropping out to slot in another winger, as talented as the Southampton man is.
Elyounoussi also doesn’t offer enough defensively to be considered suitable for our left wing-back role in a 3-5-2 formation.
Nonetheless, he’s a brilliant option to have on the bench if things aren’t going to plan and you wouldn’t put it past him to make an impact of some sort.
Now that the player is back to fitness and injury-free, the next couple of months are critical for him if he wants to secure a long-term future at Celtic Park.