Alex McLeish has urged Neil Lennon and Celtic fans to keep faith in Odsonne Edouard despite a disappointing run of form at Parkhead.
The former Rangers and Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insisted onlookers had to remember the 22-year-old is still just “a kid” and that he has a lot of learning to do.
Edouard has scored nine times in 18 appearances across all competitions, although he has netted just two league goals since the opening weekend of the season.
He was forced to sit out a handful of games after a positive Covid-19 test earlier this term but his return has not been enough to turn Celtic’s own form around.
The Bhoys have been knocked out of the Europa League at the group stage, while they are now 13 points behind Rangers, with two games in hand, in the race for the Premiership title.
However, McLeish has insisted Edouard’s dip is normal for young players and that overcoming these hurdles will help him develop into a better player.
McLeish told Football Insider: “He’s not been the player that we have witnessed at his best, we certainly haven’t seen the Edouard that I saw at Ibrox a couple of seasons ago, or a season ago, and he showed some great skills to score a really good goal in Brendan Rodgers’ time.
“When you see him for the first time and you see that development, then you think, wow, this guy in a year or two is going to be fantastic but somewhere along the line there’s possibly been a loss of confidence.
“He’s a kid, he looks like a fully grown professional but at 22 he’s still got a lot of learning to do, still got a lot of ups and downs to go through and he’s certainly going through one of the downs at the moment.
“For him to progress, then I think you have to allow young players to make mistakes at times, even to lose form at times.”
In other Celtic news, ex-Rangers star left fuming as Hoops plot “fantastic” January signing.