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Brian Rice believes Celtic could have a £40 million player on their hands in Odsonne Edouard after the Frenchman hit a hat-trick during Sunday’s 5-1 drubbing of Hamilton Academical at Parkhead, speaking on Twitter.

The reigning SPFA Player of the Year didn’t take long to make his mark on the 2020/21 season.

After just 53 minutes into the opening fixture against a spirited but limited Accies side, Edouard was already celebrating the most clinical of hat-tricks thanks to a trio of close-range tap-ins.

If EVERY Season Had A Champions League Play-Off

If EVERY Season Had A Champions League Play-Off

And that is certainly an ominous sign for Rangers and the rest of the Premiership.

Celtic’s £9 million record-signing appears to have used a four-month lay off well, honing the rather handy knack of being in the ‘right place at the right time’ inside the penalty area.

“They were striker’s goals. Normally you associate Odsonne with brilliant individual goals, but there were a few tap-ins and a near-post run,” manager Neil Lennon told Goal after the game.

“I’m absolutely thrilled.”

‘Thrilled’ is not a word that can be used to describe Rice’s mood, however, even the Hamilton boss was pleased with the application shown by a Hamilton side who finished in 11th place last season.

“The two goals in the first half were disappointing to lose because they were near enough identical,” Rice reflected.

“We probably created more chances here at Celtic than we have done in a long time. But we’re playing against quality players and we know that. Here, it’s very, very difficult.

“The quality Celtic put into the box was phenomenal. They’ve got a striker worth, I don’t know, £30 – £40 million. It’s not often you come up against him.”  

It was certainly a day full of positives for Celtic.

After an impressive pre-season, Patryk Klimala showcased his Jamie Vardy-esque movement with a clinical finish late on, notching his first competitive Hoops goal seven months after he arrived for a hefty £3.5 million.

And left-back Greg Taylor proved that he can rival Boli Bolingoli when it comes to providing devilish deliveries from the flank, setting up Celtic’s first and second with a pair of pinpoint crosses.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

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