Frank McAvennie has heaped praise on Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi for his recent on-field displays and tipped him for a permanent move from Southampton next year.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Hoops striker and Hoops fan claimed the loanee “will cost a lot of money to keep” at the end of the season.

Elyounoussi came under intense criticism for checking his mobile phone after being substituted in Celtic’s 4-1 defeat to Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The 26-year-old told Norweigan outlet VG that he was checking the score of the other game in Celtic’s Europa League game but admitted he deserves to be punished.

Manager Neil Lennon said in his post-match interview that he will “deal” with the Norway international.

Asked by Football Insider what he made of Elyounoussi’s performances on the pitch, McAvennie said: “I think Elyounossi is showing his worth. 

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“When he came people didn’t like him and that sort of stuff but I think he’s done really well.

“I’m delighted with him on the pitch and I think he’s going to cost us a lot of money to keep next year, which could happen. He’s here for this year so let’s just enjoy him. 

“I think him and Laxalt are getting a wee bit of an understanding going. He comes inside and lets Laxalt go down the line.

“It’s great and it’s a good balance to have.”

Celtic

Elyounoussi is in his second season on loan at Parkhead from Premier League side Southampton.

He has featured in all but one of the Hoops’ games this campaign, netting seven goals and providing four assists in 17 appearances.

In other news, a top pundit has hailed a huge Celtic boost as star returns ahead of schedule.