CELTIC will be hard pushed to sign a player who fares as well as Lubomir Moravcik during the forthcoming January transfer window.

Many in the Scottish game, much to their embarrassment later on, ridiculed the Parkhead club when they bought in the little-known Slovakian midfielder from German club Duisburg for just £200,000 back in 1998.

But it proved to be a good move for all concerned. Moravcik scored two goals in a 5-1 triumph over Rangers in just his third game here and went on to attain legendary status over the following four seasons.

The paltry sum paid for the supremely talented player, who became known as “Gift from God” in the East End of Glasgow, may be the best money that Celtic ever spent.

Will Vakoun Issouf Bayo, the Ivorian striker who the double treble winners have targeted as they attempt to increase Brendan Rodgers’ limited options up front, make the same kind of impact if he moves to this country in the coming weeks? He will be going some to do so.

Moravcik, though, has liked what he has seen of Bayo, who has been playing up front for Dunajska Streda in his homeland since the summer, and is confident he would be an extremely shrewd acquisition by his old club.

The 21-year-old, who would cost around £2 million to land, has netted 14 goals in 25 appearances for the Slovakian Super League club and impressed many onlookers in the process.

The former Celtic playmaker believes the 6ft forward is ready to make the step up to a bigger club in a better league and would be able to help Rodgers in his bid to complete a third consecutive clean sweep of trophies in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign.

“He has done very well,” said Moravcik. “He is a good player, a good striker, and he has scored a few goals in the Slovakian league this season.

“He only moved from Africa to Slovakia earlier this year, but he has settled quickly and done well. I think he is now maybe able to move to a higher level in Europe. It makes sense for an African player to come to a club in a central European country, in Slovakia or the Czech Republic, at first when they leave their continent.

“If they have a good season or a good couple of seasons then they have shown they are ready to step up and move to a western European country. He is the perfect example of how to do it properly. He has come to Slovakia at a young age and has found his feet and is now ready to move on.

“I think he is ready to play well in Scotland. He has a lot of good qualities – he is 6ft tall, can cope with the physical side of the game, is a very good header of the ball, is quick enough and technically is excellent. It is a good idea for Celtic to target him.”

Moravcik was the grand old age of 33 when Slovakian coach Dr Jo Venglos signed him for Celtic and had played for St Etienne and Bastia in the French first division for a total of eight seasons as well as with Duisburg in the German top flight briefly.

It will be a big challenge for Bayo, who played for Etoile du Sahel in Tunisia until last year, to move from Dunajska Streda to Celtic at such a young age and with fewer than 40 games of senior football under his belt.

Moravcik, though, believes there are similarities between the two clubs which would help him to flourish.

“There is a Hungarian region of Slovakia which is in the south and Dunajska Streda is situated there,” he said. “The people in this area speak the Hungarian language.

“There is a very special atmosphere at Dunajska Streda because they are supported by Hungarian people, even by those who live abroad. It is a very unique situation.

“They are building a nice new stadium and have invested a lot of money in their football academy. In the last few years they have become one of the best clubs in Slovakia. I think they will be able to challenge for the title in the next few years.

“It is impossible to compare Dunajska Streda to Celtic. Dunajska Streda are building a stadium for 16,000 people while over 50,000 people go to see Celtic every other week. But there are similarities.

“Celtic is a Catholic club in a Protestant country. Dunajska Streda is a Hungarian club in Slovakia. It isn’t absolutely the same, but the Dunajska Streda supporters are Hungarian and are very proud of their club in the same way that Irish people are of Celtic.”

Moravcik is currently the chief executive at his home town club of Nitra, who compete in the same league as Dunajska Streda, and can understand the logic behind Celtic signing a player like Bayo.

He predicted they will be able to recoup their outlay many times over in the future in the same way as they have with the likes of Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk and Moussa Dembele in the past.

“When Moussa Dembele came to Celtic he was nobody,” he said. “After two years he moved to Lyon for £20 million. I think Bayo can do the same – come from nowhere, play well at Celtic and then move on to a top club in England or elsewhere in Europe.

“It is wise for players who come from Africa to go step by step and start off at a small club in Europe. Celtic are smart to look to promising players like Bayo who are doing well in smaller European countries. They can bring them in for small fees, develop them and then sell them on for more money later. It is good business.”

Moravcik revealed that he still follows Celtic’s fortunes closely and had been disappointed to learn they had lost their first league game to their fierce city rivals Rangers in nearly seven years at Ibrox on Saturday.

However, the 53-year-old, a veteran of many epic Old Firm derby matches and Scottish title races, believes the resurgence of Rangers under Steven Gerrard will provoke a positive response from Rodgers’ men in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign and is looking forward to seeing who emerges on top.

“I follow Celtic’s results on the internet and I know that Rangers are closer to them than they were in the past,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how the second half of the season goes and who is going to be champions. But I think this is good for Scottish football. The game needs the two Glasgow clubs to be close.

“As disappointing as the result at the weekend was, it was still just one game. Celtic are still top of the league and still have a lot of top quality players. I am sure that they will bring in a few new faces in January to strengthen their challenge.”