Date: 19th February 2019 at 12:30pm
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has opened the door to the Celtic first team for Armstrong Oko-Flex and .

On Sunday at Kilmarnock Oko-Flex was on the bench for the first time with Dembele turning 16 on Saturday making him eligible to play in the professional game.

Both players have enjoyed plenty of attention since signing deals at Celtic and were pictured training with the first team squad ahead of the Europa League first leg tie with Valencia.

Ewan Henderson recently made two substitute appearances for the first team with Rodgers keen to give his younger players the chance to step up into the first team.

Speaking to Celtic TV yesterday Rodgers said: “Throughout my career as a coach, I’ve always shown that (if you are good enough you are old enough). There has always been a number of young players in my teams, at 17, at 18 but that is up to them.

Age is no barrier for me, if they have the qualities. Having come through youth development myself, I was 15 years as a youth coach, so I understand it.

The players aren’t fully ready but you have to give them that little taste, especially if they are doing well but there comes a point where they continue to do well and if they don’t get the opportunity to do well it can go the other way for them.

It is just about timing but they are big talents. They have to do well in the reserves and in training, at some point their chance will come later.”

Celtic signed Oko-Flex from Arsenal last summer while Dembele has come through the club’s academy since being recruited as a nine-year-old.

All of the top clubs in Europe were interested in Dembele but just before Christmas the hoops announced that he had signed a two year professional contract which begins on his 16th birthday.

As well as his club progress Dembele is an established youth internationalist for England with his family moving from London to Glasgow when he was five.