BOLI BOLINGOLI grew up watching cousin Romelu Lukaku develop into a world-class striker, so he knows a little something of what a forward needs to make it at the very top level. And the more he sees of his friend and teammate Odsonne Edouard, the more he is convinced he is made of the right stuff.

The young French forward notched a double on Saturday to take his tally for the season to 11 goals, and has also set the heather alight in his short career at international under-21 level over the last couple of months.

For Bolingoli, all signs point to Edouard going on to develop even further, and he reckons the best is yet to come from the 21-year-old.

“For sure he can go to the level of Romelu,” Bolingoli said. “Odsonne is still young and is still progressing but in time, for me, he can become a big striker in the football world.

“The boy has qualities and we have so many qualities in the team to help him. You see how good he is every day. Even with the national team.

“He shows his quality every time he plays and for me, he is a big talented player and I can only wish him all the best in his career.

“He is going to get better and better.’

As exciting a talent as Edouard is, though, Bolingoli has reminded him that he very much has time on his side before he looks to broaden his horizons beyond Celtic.

And the full-back hopes that the statement of intent made by manager Neil Lennon during the week to keep Edouard at the club beyond the January transfer window is borne out.

“Of course, because he is a good friend of mine as well as a teammate,” he said.

“He just does his job and let’s hope he can stay as long as possible at Celtic because he is a very important player in this squad and this team, and I hope he can stay as long as possible.

“In football you play with eleven players and everybody is important in the squad.

“I hope we can show we are a team in the next game on Thursday that we are Celtic, and we can get the three points.”

The win against Ross County on Saturday was the perfect way to build confidence for that match against Lazio, but there is a theory that sticking six past Scottish opposition is hardly perfect preparation for what lies in store on Thursday evening.

Bolingoli isn’t concerned though about handling that step up in calibre of opponent, and won’t be using that gulf in class as an excuse should they fail to get a result against the Italians, a result he thinks they may need if they are to finish top of Group E.

“It’s not difficult because we are motivated,” he said.

“We were motivated [on Saturday] and the Europa League gives us more motivation still. Because of that I think we can play even better than [Saturday].

“Look at how many goals we scored today. Every game we try to score a lot of goals and even in the first half we had a lot of chances. It could have been 10-0. We should have scored ten, for sure, when you see the number of chances we had in the first half. But we can be satisfied and very happy with this result of 6-0.

“It’s a bigger game [on Thursday] and we will be more motivated to show our qualities.

“We can’t wait to play against Lazio, everybody will enjoy playing a team as good as Lazio.

“We have a lot of qualities up front. It feels good to win again because the last two games we didn’t take three points. Now we are back.

“It was a good game for the whole team and hopefully we can continue like this for the next game against Lazio, which will be so important for us.

“Lazio is a big club, we just have to prepare properly. We are playing at home and that is also to our advantage.

“It will be good for us to get some points here at home against a team as strong as Lazio and remain number one in the group before going to Italy.

“It’s going to be a tough game, but we go into it with a lot of confidence. The objective if you want to go far in the competition is to win the group.

“So we go into every game to win and to be number one. We’re not playing in the Europa League to be the number two or finish last.

“We will give everything to finish in first place.”