Neil Lennon is backing £16 million ace Mohamed Elyounoussi to reignite his career at Celtic .

The Norwegian attacker is poised for a debut in today’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter against Hamilton Accies having signed a fortnight ago on a loan deal from Southampton.

Injury to Mikey Johnston has opened a door for Elyounoussi and Lennon reckons his capture has got the ability to dribble straight through it.

The Celtic boss is full of admiration for the 25-year-old’s talents which were displayed during sensational spells at Molde and FC Basle which led to last summer’s megabucks move to St Mary’s.

Although Elyounoussi ’s opening year on England’s South Coast did not go to plan, Lennon feels the challenges of Celtic and his desire to hit top gear again can rekindle the Norwegian international’s fires.

He said: “I think all players who maybe don’t play or it hasn’t worked out for them at a certain club can go again.

 

“This is a different environment, obviously, and you have to deal with the expectations.

“But he was playing for a big club in Switzerland and in the Champions League and he was a very, very good player for Basel. Maybe this change of scenery and environment might reignite him. That’s what we’re hoping anyway.

“He had a stellar career at Basel to the point where he was one of Norway’s best players and he went to Southampton for big money.

“It didn’t work out for him. That happens, but I don’t think you lose the ability.

“I think in him and [Moritz] Bauer we’ve got players with pedigree who are hungry to, if not prove a point, then get back to playing at the level they know they are capable of.

“It’s up to me to tap into that. I think technically he’s a good player, he’s smart, a very fit lad. The two of them are actually. I think he will get goals at this level.

“There is experience there and he’ll be okay at Europa League level, too.

“He can play right, he can play left and he can play off the striker. He’s not blindingly quick but he’s smart and he’s a good mover, he’s quite lithe, he sees a pass and is a decent finisher as well.

“We’re hoping this will be an opportunity for him to get back to where he was maybe a year or two ago.

“Maybe he hasn’t lived up to the price tag, but he’s played a bit for Southampton in the Premier League.

“There’s been a chance of manager and it doesn’t look like he’s in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans.

“But that doesn’t make him a bad player and having Kris Ajer here is good for him as well, a compatriot who will help him settle. Hopefully we’ll get the best out of him again.”

 

With new arrivals such as Elyounoussi having had some time to integrate through the 13-day international break, Lennon is looking for his team to pick up where they left off before the short club shutdown.

Nir Bitton, Jozo Simunovic and Johnston are on a short-term injured list, but the manager has received big boosts with Tom Rogic back in the fold for the first time this season and Ajer also available for Lanarkshire.

Lennon is happy with the strength in depth heading into this next batch of games and said: “We’re going to need it going along because we’ve got a heavy schedule coming up.

“It [August] was a tumultuous month in terms of games, recovering from them, injuries, having to balance everything and trying to qualify.

“Then at the end of it you have a hugely significant game which psychologically has given everyone a lift.

“So it was nice to have a couple of days to take stock of things and then plan for another big month which has a lot of big games domestically and in Europe.

“Rogic is now over his long-term injury which is like having a new player in the building. He’ll be in contention for Hamilton.

“We’ve done well with injuries. That’s been pleasing as well as we haven’t had a raft of them.

“It’s exciting for the players and my staff. We’ve started the season very, very well but we know we have to maintain our standards consistently now.”

Lennon is pleased with the squad he’s built, but added: “I think there’s a good structure, but I always like to do a bit in January.

“There’s depth now. What that does to the boys who are already here is it gives them a jab of energy when they see the quality coming in and the experience and professionalism of some of the players we’ve brought in.

“They’re seeing some of the new boys settling now and feeling a part of it. You can’t do it without that core group. We’ve got a couple of decent loans and a couple of younger ones in Jeremie Frimgpong and Lee O’Connor.

“Hopefully that augers well for the future as they look like two very good players. They’ve already added to the energy of the squad. Coming onto this period, we’re in a good place.”