Karamoko Dembele full of praise for Celtic coach Damien Duff

By David Walton

May 23, 2019

Karamoko Dembele has hailed the impact Damien Duff has had on his game since arriving earlier this year.

Duff was a shrewd-looking appointment to look after the reserve squad back in January. He was announced along with Stephen McManus, who is also currently working in the youth set-up at Parkhead.

It’s been one heck of a fast rise up the ranks for the Irishman, however. When Neil Lennon came in one month after Duff’s appointment, the former Chelsea man was pushed up to first-team coach. Since then, he’s regularly seen on the bench with Lennon.

Neil Lennon’s arrival pushed Damien Duff up to first-team coach (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

But Dembele has moved to talk up what he provides Celtic in the dugout. Speaking to the Celtic View (Volumre 54, Issue 43, Page 23), Dembele had this to say on the new coach:

A new dawn beckons for Celtic in Europe, as Joe Hart shows his class once again

“Having people like Damien Duff around Lennoxtown and at Celtic Park, that’s amazing for us. His knowledge of the game, his experience, that’s second to none, and having that type of character around has really helped my game.

“I think it’s what I needed, to wake up a bit more and really focus on putting the hard work in.

“Damien is straightforward with you, there’s no messing about. He just tells you what he thinks, he tells you how it is. Basically, he tells you the truth!”

More to Duff than meets the eye?

Dembele’s final comment is telling here. Speaking about how honest Duff is was backed up last weekend. After Dembele’s debut in the 2-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead, Duff was spotted by Sky Sports. He was having a private chat with Dembele about what looked to be aspects of his performance.

Footage made it to social media of the discussion too. You can view it for yourself below:

It’s clear Duff has a good relationship with the youth players at Parkhead. It will be interesting to see whether he drops back down to reserve-team level next year when Celtic sort out the managerial situation.

In any case, it looks like he’s doing a fantastic job in motivating the youngsters despite being a first-team coach. His presence and aura will precede him. Everyone knows about his achievements in the game, and that is a big boost for the youngsters at Parkhead.

Will Karamoko Dembele get his chance on Saturday? (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

As for Dembele, question marks are now being put forward regarding whether he’ll play at Hampden on Saturday. The Scottish Cup final against Hearts isn’t any end-of-season dead-rubber. Celtic simply must win this one, and can’t take any chances.

Despite that, Neil Lennon told Celtic TV that he would have no issue throwing Dembele back into the mix this weekend. Is it a wise move? Time will tell, but personally I feel that a cup final spot has to be earned. They deserve to go to players who have worked hard all season and paid their dues.

Dembele’s time will come, and he’ll play in plenty of Scottish Cup finals if he sticks around. But, surely, Saturday is too early….or is it?