John Kennedy watched Virgil van Dijk stroll it in Scotland. He clocked Moussa Dembele demolishing defences and Kieran Tierney tearing up the flanks.

The trio banked Celtic serious money before going on to star on big stages in England and France.

Now stand-in boss Kennedy reckons Odsonne Edouard is destined to follow the same path.

All the French hitman needs is more killer instinct.

Edouard – who landed the Player of the Month award for February – is expected to leave Parkhead in the summer, with several clubs on his trail, including Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton and old boss Brendan Rodgers at Leicester.

Kennedy laughed off talk of £15million bagging the France Under-21 star as he has no doubt the striker is on his way to the top if the chilled-out poacher becomes more of an apex predator.

He said: “I see how he works. I have seen Virgil working and I have seen Moussa working and all the top guys. He has got as much quality and talent as them. Easily.

“The other side of it, psychologically, is that every game he goes out and every training session he takes part in, he shows his levels and improves continuously.

“If he does that, he will be exceptional.

“He is a top player in terms of the level he has got.

“The intelligence he has, the tactical and technical abilities are exceptional. I have spoken to Odsonne and he knows it.

“He has got a really good football brain. The thing for him now – and we have spoken about this – is having that killer instinct.

“He knows he has got talent, he knows he has got ability.

“He is very quiet and can be a bit laid-back at times. He has to make sure that come performance time he turns it on and maximises what he has got.

“That is what will take him to the top because he has got everything he needs to do that.

Dembele and Tierney netted Celtic serious cash

“What he has got to develop over time, and with maturity and experience, is that killer instinct.

“The top strikers are all killers – they have that instinct to get the goals, get themselves in there all the time.

“Odsonne can do that, it is about consistency. That comes with time, development and maturing as well.

“When he turns it on, it is easy for everyone to see what he’s got. The more he can do that, it takes you up to the higher level.

“That is what he has got to strive for.”

Kennedy’s immediate target is a strong finish to the season and avoiding the doomsday scenario of a Rangers title party at Parkhead in a fortnight.

Celtic can’t afford a slip-up at Tannadice on Sunday or the league race will be declared.

But the man in the dugout is doing his best to ignore what could happen with Gers.

Kennedy said: “Our motivation is ourselves. We can’t control what goes on elsewhere.

“We’ve just got to prepare well, attack every game.

“We want to be more consistent, score more goals – and then we get the by-product of that.

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“Rangers are sitting in a very strong position. If we were sitting in that position ourselves, you know, we’d be very happy with it.

“But we can’t affect that. We’ve just got to deal with the situation we find ourselves in.

“That means going to Tannadice, which is difficult, and trying to win the game.

“Then when the Rangers match comes around, we deal with that. We know there’s a lot of attention around when Rangers might win the league, could it be at Celtic Park and so on.

“But it’s genuinely not in my mind at all at the moment.”

Kennedy will decide today if winger James Forrest is ready to make his comeback.

He said: “James has come through the week really well.

“He is someone we have really missed if you look at his numbers for goals and assists.

“He’s put himself in a position now where he is close. It is just coming to an agreement with him about how he is feeling about it and how we see it in terms of how the squad looks.”

Kennedy is hoping to build on last week’s 1-0 win over Aberdeen in his first match in charge following Neil Lennon’s departure and lay the foundations for next season’s fightback.

He said: “It’s about getting back to what they’re good at – high-level performances and winning.

“This season, it’s been too inconsistent. There’s been a real variety in performance and results. It has been far too up
and down.

“I want to get that to a more even level where it’s consistent. And that gives you a better base to build on.

“You can bog yourself down with the season, feel sorry for yourselves and everything else.

“But life goes on, the club goes on, the team goes on.

“And it’s great that the Scottish Cup is back because that gives us something to go for.

“But ultimately there’s also a bigger picture beyond that – getting back to the levels we know we’re capable of.”