Celtic's Mohamed Elyounoussi hits back at Chris Sutton after Motherwell hat-trick

Celtic attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi has implied his hat-trick in the 4-1 win at Motherwell is one in the eye for BT pundit Chris Sutton.

The on-loan Southampton attacker seemed to take particular exception to comments made by the former Celtic striker over being spotted checking his phone after he was withdrawn in the horrendous 4-1 loss to Sparta Prague in the teams’ Europa League encounter in Glasgow on Thursday.

Sutton raged that what Elyounoussi did was “ scandalous” and demanded to know “is he committed to the cause, is he committed to the club?” in branding his actions “totally unacceptable”. The 27-year-old believes he provided the response with a triple that takes his tally to 11 goals for the club since August, seven of these in his past six outings.

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“I was frustrated and disappointed that someone questioned my professionalism and commitment – so I am happy to help the team win,” said Elyounoussi. “Anyone who knows me realises I am very professional, I give 100 per cent for my team and I am very committed on the pitch. Not only offensively, defensively as well. So, I don’t think someone should question my professionalism on the pitch. What I can do is talk with my feet and that’s what I did. That’s the best way to react.”

Celtic's Mohamed Elyounoussi gives three reasons why he believes Chris Sutton was wrong to question him as he holds the match ball after his hat-trick at Motherwell (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Celtic's Mohamed Elyounoussi gives three reasons why he believes Chris Sutton was wrong to question him as he holds the match ball after his hat-trick at Motherwell (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Elyounoussi accepted that Celtic had to respond to the nadir of the Sparta loss in emphatic fashion, and believes they did so at Fir Park. But he objected to the notion that he produced something out of the ordinary in bringing up his hat-trick in the 76th minute with a crashing header.

“I have scored many headers in my career and I think people should stop underestimating me with the headers,” he said. “I’ve done it, I’ve scored a few headers in my career. In the end I don’t jump really high but I think I have good timing and obviously the delivery was really good. So, yes, it was a great goal.”

Elyounoussi was asked if he felt the performance was one the team owed their manager Neil Lennon, following a torturous period in which they have been haemorrhaging goals and failing to win games, the Lanarkshire success only their second in seven games.

“I enjoy playing for this manager,” he said. “I don’t understand the criticism that has been there. He is a great manager, I love to play under him. We are united as a team, everyone’s standing behind him and the staff. We had to show a reaction and we showed character. Everyone had a really good game. We were aggressive and had intensity to our play. With and without the ball it was good. This is the level we have to be in. The most important thing is to be consistent.”

BT Sport pundit and former Celtic player Chris Sutton had questioned Mohamed Elyounoussi's commitment after he was pictured looking at his phone after being substituted against Sparta Prague in midweek. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Elyounoussi will now head off to play with Norway during the international break, but has no fears over the Covid-19 situation despite the three cases for Celtic players in the last such window. “I feel very safe whenever I go away with Norway,” he said. “We have our precautions and I am sure everyone else, especially with UEFA protocols and restrictions.”

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