Karamoko Dembele has earned a full-time place in Neil Lennon’s first team squad.
The 17-year-old was restricted to two substitute appearances last season but put in an impressive 90 minutes in yesterday’s 3-1 win over Hibs.
Neither team was at full strength but the young winger came in for a familiar level of physical abuse with the Hibs players taking it in turn trying to strong-arm him out of the game.
Dembele kept bouncing back for more, demanding the ball and taking on his markers providing Celtic with a constant attacking threat down the right flank.
When he was presented with a scoring chance shortly before half time he gave the goalkeeper the eyes to shoot across him then tucked the ball away with the calmness of a veteran.
Karamoko is no longer the ‘wee guy on You Tube’ with Neil Lennon telling The Sun about his big plans for the England youth internationalist:
We want Karamoko around the first-team squad this season. It’s that time now when he is going to be training with us all the time.
He may dip in and out and we just need to be careful with him as he’s still only 17. I was delighted with what I saw from. He scored and helped assist the second.
He’s looking stronger as he goes along and the more he trains with the first team the better he will get
Last season Karamoko got 20 minutes away to Cluj in December followed by five minutes at the end of January at home to Ross County.
Crunch time comes on Sunday when Lennon names his side for the SPFL opener against Hamilton. The first XI virtually picks itself but a dozen players including Karamoko are in contention for six outfield places on the bench.
— Joe McHugh (@videocelts) July 28, 2020