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Friday 13 December 2019

Return to Parkhead for Dubliner O'Dea

Mohamed Elyounoussi
Mohamed Elyounoussi

Celtic have stepped up the greening of Parkhead as former Ireland international Darren O'Dea has returned to the club as U18 team coach.

O'Dea, who made 49 appearances for the Bhoys between 2006-12, had been working as a coach with Motherwell, but his former club managed to lure him back and he starts work today in charge of their U18s.

He joins fellow Dubliner Damien Duff on the coaching staff while Jonny Hayes, Luca Connell and Jonathan Afolabi are trying to establish themselves in Neil Lennon's first team.

Manager Lennon enthused about his wingers after they combined to earn a 1-0 victory at Hamilton.

Debutant Mohamed Elyounoussi sent in a low cross which James Forrest converted from six yards inside four minutes.

The Norway international made an impressive start to his loan spell from Southampton while Forrest came close to an eighth goal in nine Celtic matches just after the break when his strike was touched on to the underside of the bar.

Lennon was delighted to see Forrest continue his flying start to the season.

"Not only the goal, I just thought he was our biggest threat all day," Lennon said.

"His pace and the effort that hit the bar, his running power, he pulled one back for Odsonne (Edouard) who was unlucky he miscontrolled it.

"He was creating chances, he was a threat all day, and he scored another brilliant goal. That's seven by mid-September, which is a great return. Brilliant player.

"His run for the goal, he gets out from wide right inside the box and it's a great finish.

"It was a great ball in from Mo, who had a very good debut. He had a really good hour.

Fresh

"He hasn't played a lot of football recently but he looked fit and fresh, and he looked the good player we thought he was going to be. And obviously as we go along, we are hoping he is going to improve."

Celtic were completely dominant in the first half without cutting their hosts open often but Hamilton made a game of it after Forrest hit the bar just after the break, although Fraser Forster was untroubled in the Hoops goal.

Lennon said: "It's a case of three points; a very good performance in difficult conditions; five wins out of five, which we have not done for a long time at the start of a season; a clean sheet, a third out of five. We are playing very, very well.

"My only tinge of regret is we have not scored more."

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