Odsonne Edouard, the Celtic striker, made history this week for the French under-21 side as he surpassed Moussa Dembele’s record and became joint top scorer alongside Florian Maurice in Les Espoirs' history books.

Just one more will take him to the top of the pile for his country in that age group with Celtic manager Neil Lennon optimistic that the striker will sustain his appetite in front of goal on a domestic level.

It has been a stop-start season so far for both Edouard and Celtic. The former hasn’t yet shown consistently the form that had attracted various clubs to keep tabs on him in recent seasons while equally it has also been a staccato campaign for Lennon’s side.

A fit and focussed Edouard would be beneficial in getting Celtic onto a firmer footing while it remains in the player’s best interests that the goals continue to come. There was the distraction of the transfer window when the season first resumed before a positive Covid test kept him out of the team for key games, including the defeat to Rangers which has given the Ibrox side the impetus at the top of the table.

Celtic are currently nine points off the pace of Steven Gerrard’s team – with two games in hand still to play – and will look to make up ground when they play Hibs at Easter Road this weekend. Edouard hasn’t scored for Celtic in his last five appearances - and his last league goal was the start of September – with Lennon eager to replicate international form over the course of the coming months.

“What we have with Odsonne is an outstanding, talented player and it’s up to us now to try and get the best out of him again,” said Lennon. “Of course, it’s also in his own best interests to knuckle down and get back to playing the way he can.

“There are huge games coming up, ones in which he can inspire the team. We saw that last season when he had a stellar year. We know what he’s capable of and we understand why his recent form hasn’t been as good.

“Listen, he’s a human being and he’s still young at 22 and there was been a lot of interest or speculation – whatever you want to call it – about him and there’s no question that it affected him and his performances.

“He’s been away with France now and maybe that gave him a little time at home as well. We’ll sit down, have a good discussion with him and, hopefully, he’ll kick on and get back to his best.

“We’re hoping now he can settle down again. He knows he’s loved here – by his team-mates, the backroom staff and the fans – and he can get back to doing what he does best and that is playing some remarkable football. He’s been sensational for us, absolutely tremendous with the impact he’s had already.”

Edouard won’t be the only one returning with a spring in his step. Scotland will be irked at their failure to get promotion out of their Nations League group after the defeat to Israel on Wednesday night but there remains places to be win the European Championship squad this summer.

That ought to be the catalyst for the likes of Leigh Griffiths to get himself fit enough to be considered for a regular start. The Scotland forward has a natural instinct in front of goal but still has some convincing to do in terms of earning a jersey every week.

With Patryk Klimala and Albian Ajeti also looking for game time – the latter has chipped in with five goals already this season – there are choices for Lennon when it comes to leading the line.

Of greater concern has been the porous nature of Celtic’s backline with the Parkhead defence. Shane Duffy looks stripped of all confidence after a particularly difficult opening chapter to his loan spell with the Parkhead side. The Irishman was benched for the last game before the international break against Motherwell and it will be interesting to see what personnel Lennon goes with for the game in Leith.

Kris Ajer will be available after he and Moi Elyounoussi were cleared to leave Norway and it is the front end of the park where Lennon has more options at the minute.

“I’ll be delighted to have Ajetic, Edouard, Griffiths and Klimala because they’re all different kinds of strikers and they all bring a lot of quality to the team,” said Lennon.

“Ajeti has shown his class and what he brings to the table. We’re looking for a big season from him.”