03 Mar Odsonne Edouard impresses Celtic boss Rodgers ahead of Old Firm derby
Brendan Rodgers admits Odsonne Edouard played himself into contention for the Old Firm derby after the substitute inspired Celtic to a 3-0 home William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Morton.
The well organised Ladbrokes Championship side proved to be stubborn and troublesome in the goalless first half before 20-year-old striker Edouard, on loan from Paris St Germain, replaced Scott Sinclair at half-time to assist his fellow Frenchman Moussa Dembele in attack.
The holders upped the tempo and Dembele grabbed a double, the second from a contentious penalty kick, before Edouard lashed in his seventh of the season in the final minute.
Rodgers feels his overall display has put him in the frame for the clash with Rangers next Sunday.
The Hoops boss said: “I thought he was very good. He is a young player I rate very highly.
“He can play in a number of positions. He has strength, power, he threatens in behind… he is quick but he can link the game as well.
“I felt as though those two occupied their back four really well because they are both quick and Odsonne really wants to really run in behind.
“He had two really good chances before he actually scored the goal so it is something that I can consider.
“I have an idea what we want to do if everyone is fit next week, but certainly for today’s game he provided the spark needed and I thought he was excellent when he came on.”
After scoring in last week’s 2-0 win at Aberdeen, Dembele took his tally for the season to 12 and Rodgers believes he is coming to the boil ahead of the trip to Ibrox.
The Northern Irishman said: “He has that hunger back to score.
“In the second half, like the rest of the team, he was much better.
“It was a good header (for the first goal) and the link-up play was much better to get the penalty and he was probably unfortunate that the ball wouldn’t sit for him in the second half a couple of times to get his hat-trick.
“He is in form, showed his qualities and worked very well.”
Celtic’s penalty was awarded when Morton defender Michael Doyle was adjudged by referee John Beaton to have felled Dembele just inside the box.
Ton boss Jim Duffy claimed the infringement took place outside the box, although he conceded that the decision was probably not a game-changer at Parkhead.
He said: “When you come here you don’t want to hand victory to Celtic and we didn’t. But class told in the end.
“The second goal was a bit contentious because it looked like it was outside the box.
“I am not saying we would get back into the game but it gave Celtic a bit more time to relax.
“It was not much outside and I can understand why the referee has given it. I am not overly criticising him but it is a big decision.
“But Celtic dominated the second half and had real quality.”