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Celtic’s French Connection

18 July 2020


Celtic continue their pre-season in Lyon this evening and Neil Lennon will be looking for more of the same from the players after the midweek work out against Nice as they continue to get match fit ahead of the season kick off against Hamilton at Celtic Park.

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With no Celtic fans allowed inside the stadium and travel restrictions from Ireland still in place its another evening on the sofa with a few beers for me and Henrik my dog for company. The craic should be better in Glasgow as the pubs are back open and I’m a little jealous when I look at social media and see my mates enjoying pints in my favourite watering holes as we wait for our government to lift restrictions over here.

It’s all about Celtic tonight but it will be nice for our defence to come up against Dembele, he should give them a plenty to think about and a worth while workout.

Dembele was much loved during his time at Celtic by the fans. The 5-1 demolition of the Rangers, his hattrick and raising 3 fingers after the third goal to signal he was taking the match ball home, these moments of joy will still be very much alive in every Celtic fans mind.

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What an early afternoon that was followed by one big party in Celtic bars in Glasgow and throughout the World.

How do you replace a player like Dembele? Well that’s easy when you have another French kid in the squad. Enter I wanna, I wanna, I wanna be Edouard.

We already knew he was quality after he came off the bench at Ibrox when we were down to 10 men and he was fed through a perfect pass from Dembele (who had equalised to make it 2-2). He had still plenty of work to do before he picked his corner slotted the ball home to send us into wild celebrations in the Broomloan end. French Eddie had arrived 3-2 with 10 men and the blue half sick.

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That was back in the days before the Rangers spit the dummy out and we got our full away allocation and created an atmosphere not seen at Ibrox …… well not seen since the last time we stuffed them at Greyskull. Celebrating with the fans that day was Leigh Griffiths who must have been injured and was loving the atmosphere in the front of the top tier.

Credit must be given to the Celtic scouting system for continuing to unearth such talent. When big Virgil came to us nobody had taken notice of him but we did and after making money for the club not once but twice he has become one of the best players in the World.

Nobody paid any attention to Dembele when he was at Fulham but we did and Graeme Souness said that every scout in the Premier League should be sacked for not alerting their employers to his talents or something along those lines.

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I am lucky to have regular chats with two of our scouts, Willie McStay and Tosh McKinley. Willie has an eye for young talent and is credited with alerting the club to the talent of young Frimpong who even surprised Willie at how quick he broke into the first team and when Ajer was on loan at Kilmarnock, Tosh was sent to every game at Rugby Park or where ever they were playing to watch him and report back to the club.

That attention to detail may well see us cash in once again and we can have confidence that our scouts will continue to unearth talent from throughout Europe and beyond.

Onwards and Upwards to the 10.


Andrew Milne started More than 90 Minutes in 2001. He has written for numerous publications and online about Celtic.  He is a former newspaper columnist with the Daily Ireland and the man behind celticfanzine.com. He is host of the Celtic Soul Podcast & Celtic AM pre-match events at Malone’s in Glasgow on match days and follows Celtic Home & Away. He is a season ticket holder for Celtic FC and the Republic of Ireland. He is also P.R.O. of St. Margaret’s CSC, a member of the Celtic Trust and the Celtic Graves Association.

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