Chris Sutton is playing a big role in Mohammed Elyounoussi reaching new heights in his Celtic career.

That is according to ex-Scotland and Rangers manager Alex McLeish, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the impact of the outspoken TV, radio and newspaper pundit.

Sutton questioned the Norway international’s commitment and called for him to be fined after he was spotted on his phone following his substitution in Celtic’s Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague.

The Southampton loanee went on to net a hat-trick against Motherwell last Sunday and subsequently revealed his frustration at the club legend’s comments.

McLeish told Football Insider: “Big Chris was probably motivating him. Probably the lads, if Elyounoussi didn’t read it or didn’t listen to it, I’m sure the lads hit him with the banter.

“It could be his pride was hurt by comments like that. Guys like Chris Sutton can say that and it can be to motivate the player. If that’s the case, then it’s very much worked.

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“Elyounoussi, they were great finishes last week and you have to say again, all the bodies back in the team – Christie driving with his robust surges forward, Edouard back then Elyounoussi can flourish and show the ability that people expected when he first came.” 

Elyounoussi has scored 11 goals and provided four assists in his 19 appearances across all competitions this term.

This has led to growing speculation the Scottish champions could try to sign him permanently from Southampton in January.

In other news, £8m+ Celtic signing lined up after big January reveal.