Sportscene analysis: Celtic must keep Odsonne Edouard - Shaun Maloney

Shaun Maloney

Neil Lennon says it's "pivotal" to keep Odsonne Edouard. It's clear that he is crucial to Celtic's bid for 10 titles in a row.

I don't know Odsonne, but from the outside he looks like a really good person, as well as a really good professional. He's an amazing striker and he had an amazing season last year, and with the possibility of what could be achieved being so historic this season, giving the manager and staff as big a chance as possible includes Odsonne being in the squad.

It's easy to say, but the biggest thing for Neil is keeping the squad together, and I think he will. Keeping his best players like Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer is crucial in helping him and staff create history that's never been done before.

It would mean the world to anyone connected to the club, the team I supported as a child. For the fans, including a lot of my family, and for the players and staff involved, it means everything.

They've been speaking about this for quite a few years now and what you have to say about the players, they've handled the pressure incredibly well to get to this stage. Some people have been there all the way through, like the captain Scott Brown and James Forrest.

Latterly you have some of the other players coming through the academy, like Callum McGregor. He's such an important player, and it must be an absolute dream to coach him.

Swinging momentum & going on a run

History is on the line, and Celtic are so strong, but you have to think Rangers are going to push as hard as they can.

We all know Rangers had a disappointing post winter break last season, but Celtic's form has been relentless. The season might have stopped early, but I think if Celtic continued, they would have reached similar heights in terms of points, goals, and maybe even eclipsed the record Brendan Rodgers set. Neil's come in from the last year under Brendan and risen the level again domestically.

The momentum they have built has been incredible. They had a knock in December's Old Firm derby, but they showed incredible mentality. If either team gets on a run like that, it's going to have a huge say on where the title goes.

Therefore, you have to take mentality into consideration, but every season is a completely fresh start, and the momentum teams can pick up will have an impact. You can't rule anyone out on what's gone before.

The biggest thing from January has been the variation of systems. Whether Celtic play two up front with Edouard and Leigh Griffiths, or they use a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 like they did against Hamilton on Sunday. The same principles are implemented, but Neil has added a different structure to their play.

The league is priority, but as for Europe, Neil's mentioned they want to make the Champions League group stage. You got a sense last year when they were in the Europa League group that it was a real priority, Lazio away was an amazing result in a country they had never won in before.

The history of the club is built on big European occasions, and it's really good to see Neil and the staff speaking about it as a big priority.

A change of pace at Rugby Park

Looking ahead to Sunday's game, I think it will be a really good game to watch. The speed of the game can change because of the pitch, but Kilmarnock are always very well structured and really well organised.

The pitch is one thing, but Alex Dyer has got a good team and they have shown they are very good defensively and they can be a threat on the counter attack.

Although it's such an historic year for both Old Firm clubs, it's been great to see in the last week other big stories within the league. Like the fight for third with Motherwell and Aberdeen, and Dundee United coming back up.

It feels like a really positive time for Scottish football, and there's brilliant stories everywhere.

Shaun Maloney was speaking to BBC Sport Scotland's Nick McPheat

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