Celtic youngsters Ewan Henderson and Jonathan Afolabi feature in 5-goal thriller

By Euan Davidson

March 28, 2021

Celtic youngsters Ewan Henderson and Jonathan Afolabi are no doubt used to being on the same side.

However, the Hoops duo found themselves on either end of a dramatic 3-2 scoreline in the Championship last night. It was Afolabi’s Dundee who fought back from 2-0 down to defeat Dunfermline in a televised match on the BBC.

Kerr McInroy was also on the bench for Dunfermline Athletic, but didn’t see any playing time in the entertaining second-tier bout.

Henderson, making his debut for Dunfermline, saw more action. The Fife side brought Henderson on around the 66th minute. The first in a raft of substitutes from manager Stevie Crawford, Henderson was introduced after a remarkable flurry of Dundee attacking.

Afolabi, meanwhile, was brought on late for James McPake’s Dundee. His direct competition in the side, Jason Cummings, began Dundee’s fight-back from a cross by ex-Celtic Academy man Paul McMullan. Then, a second half blitz from Daniel Mullen and Lee Ashcroft completed the comeback before the hour mark.

It’s a disappointing result for the Pars, who drop to 4th, their lowest league position so far this season [DAFC]. It’s all smiles for Afolabi and Dundee however. The Irish youngster didn’t make a huge impact. However, he’ll still be recovering from the demands of youth international football, having starred for the Ireland Under-21s as recently as Friday.

Ewan Henderson couldn’t help Dunfermline recover their lead / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Promising, but Celtic loan youngsters have more work to do

At the very least, it’s first-team football. For these youngsters, it seems that John Kennedy isn’t super keen to use youth during his interim spell. Like it or not, players like Ewan Henderson are probably better suited to a spell elsewhere for now.

It probably would’ve been ridiculous to expect too much from Afolabi, given his international exertions. So, him seeing the pitch at all shows just how how high his self-expectations are. Supporters can be legitimately excited by the young Irishman’s work-rate and willingness to play every minute he can.

For Kerr McInroy, it’ll have been disappointing to not feature. The fact is, he isn’t near being a starter for Crawford’s side, and the Pars didn’t require a defensive midfielder as they hoped to claw back a result in the second half.

From a mentality perspective, it can only be a good learning experience. For Afolabi, it’s how to help shore up a result. In Henderson’s case, the disappointment will only galvanise him to be more impactful in the future.

Still, we told you it would be worth watching.

READ MORE: Nightmare for Shane Duffy and the boys in Green.