Odsonne Edouard’s brace against Ross County on Saturday very nearly turned into a hat-trick, only for the striker’s selflessness to halt it.
Eddy’s cameo against County was superb. He was only on the pitch for a couple of minutes before he glanced in a corner. He then collected a James Forrest pass before weaving into the box and sliding low under Nathan Baxter for 3-0.
However, there was a picture-perfect moment for him to seal his hat-trick. Celtic won a freekick just to the left of centre around 2o yards out. It was prime Edouard territory. However, it was Mikey Johnston who took it before failing to trouble Baxter. It was a bit of a mystery as to why the youngster hit it over French Eddy.
But revealing what had happened on the pitch in comments published by the Scottish Sun, Johnston confirmed it was Edouard’s idea not to hit the free-kick.
“He is quiet as a character and he’s chilled as well. He’s also unselfish — I wanted him to hit that second-half free-kick for his hat-trick.
“But I was on free-kicks for the game and he said to me ‘no, on you go, take it’. I said to him, ‘you’re on your hat-trick, take it’, but he said ‘no, you take it’
“You’ve got to be selfish at times as well but you’ve also got to be unselfish at times, too. I thought it was a good gesture from him. I should have put it in the net but it was nice of him. After I hit the ball he said to me, ‘right, I’m not giving you it again!’.”
Edouard’s team-player mentality tips title race in Celtic’s favour
Edouard currently has 19 goals to his name, but he also has 15 assists too (Transfermarkt). You don’t rack up an assist-tally like that as a centre-forward if you’re selfish.
Yet, what’s brilliant about Edouard is that he’s selfish when he needs to be. He knows when to take on the shot and when to provide to a team-mate in a better position. However, in moments like Saturday, when he noticed a team-mate itching for a goal in Johnston, he was happy to pass up his hat-trick.
That kind of stuff helps boost team morale and spirit. Edouard’s attitude to the game and his team-mates will do and already has provided us with more goals than we could’ve had.
Compare it with his direct rival, Alfredo Morelos of Rangers. The Colombian has only bagged nine assists in 35 appearances for the Ibrox side (Transfermarkt). Edouard has almost double that, and that selflessness is proving vital to our success.
Next up for Celtic is a trip to McDiarmid Park to face a St Johnstone side who generally struggle to keep Celtic out. Edouard will seriously fancy adding to both his goal and assist tallies in that one. Celtic, of course, rattled seven past St Johnstone at Parkhead on flag day, and have also scored in their last six games vs Saints.
However, one thing is guaranteed, if Edouard has a chance to score but spots a team-mate in a better position, he isn’t going for the individual glory.