Didier Agathe‘s days at Celtic could be numbered after he admitted he wants a new challenge – and manager Martin O‘Neill is unlikely to stand in his way.
The pacy Frenchman says the Bank of Scotland Premier League no longer holds any excitement for him and he would like to try his luck in England or Spain.
Agathe told France Football: “Celtic is a great club but, at 28 years of age, I would like to discover new horizons.
“The league is not very exciting. Fortunately there is Europe – Europe motivates us the most.”
O‘Neill says he understands the desire of his players to play against the top teams on the continent – a hunger which has intensified since last year‘s progression to the UEFA Cup final.
But the Celtic boss insists there is no room at Parkhead for any player who has lost his appetite for the league battle, which kicks off against Dunfermline tomorrow.
O‘Neill said: “I would not want to go into the SPL with any player who feels it no longer excites him.
“The games are too important not to be exciting. We are one of two football clubs who have to win matches and that’s difficult to do.
“The intensity of that, as well as playing for a club this size, is very, very important.
“In general, if good players come to me and say, for whatever reason, that they are unhappy, then I will try my best to keep them.
“If they still want away then we would have to do something about that.”
Despite Agathe’s assessment of the SPL, Celtic’s curtain-raiser against Dunfermline should be anything but dull as the feud between the two clubs refuses to go away.
Chris Sutton – who claimed the Pars “laid down” to Rangers to hand them the title last season – will be missing from East End Park thanks to his comments and the double red card he picked up on the final day of the campaign.
But that does not mean his remarks will be forgotten when the two sides meet tomorrow.
Although O‘Neill expects “banter” between the opposing fans, the Celtic boss believes the chances of that boiling over to something more problematic is unlikely.
He said: “I don‘t know whether there will be some sort of banter between the fans.
“I think the general message would be for cool heads but I don’t see why there should be any trouble.
“Of course, there will be a bit of noise but I‘m not expecting supporters grabbing instruments or banging heads.”
O‘Neill, himself, has allowed himself to be drawn into the war of words, reacting furiously to Dunfermline chairman John Yorkston‘s comments that the suspended Sutton would not be welcome at East End Park as a spectator.
The latest verbal volley came from Pars skipper Scott Thomson yesterday, when he branded the Celtic striker “a disgrace” and claimed Sutton would never be forgiven by the Dunfermline players.
But O‘Neill believes the whole matter should now be put to bed.
He added: “There has been a lot said but there is no point in replying now.
“It‘s the first game of the season, we are away from home and we‘re playing against Dunfermline – those three things alone make it a difficult game.
“There is added spice but I will be telling the players to go out and play the game, the same as I would before any other game.”