Eboue Kouassi was one of Celtic’s stand-out performers in the 1-0 Europa League first leg victory over Zenit, even though nobody really expected the fringe player to start.
The 20-year-old, who has been in and out of the side since joining the Hoops from Russian side Krasnodar for £3million in January 2017, was an inspired managerial pick by Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers, who saw the Ivorian dominate the Zenit midfield.
The player will now have an important role to play in the second leg on Thursday, as the Hoops attempt to qualify for the last 16 of the competition.
Perhaps a reason that he was chosen to play against Zenit was his familiarity with playing against Russian sides, after his spell at Krasnodar.
In that case he should be able to thrive in the conditions in the Krestovsky Stadium, where the Hoops will no doubt face an intimidating atmosphere.
It will be the biggest match yet of Kouassi’s career, and one which he will have to help control the midfield area of the park in, he excelled in this role in the first leg alongside Scott Brown.
He, along with the rest of his team-mates might not have played that well in the weekend goalless draw against S Johnstone, but this game takes care of itself, and if Kouassi plays as well as he did in the first leg, the Hoops could be on their way to a triumphant night in Russia.
In other Celtic news, Kouassi has no fears about playing in the second leg
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