Karamoko Dembele is the name on fans’ lips as Hibs get set to make the journey to Celtic Park.
Celtic look set to name a shadow squad after they were informed by the Scottish Government that 13 of their players must self-isolate. Neil Lennon and John Kennedy have also been told to do the same. This is in response to Chris Jullien’s positive Covid test and the close contact rule.
So question marks have automatically moved towards who could be brought in this evening. Who are the best youngsters available who could do the job for Celtic tonight?
Well, there’s one name that certainly stnads out in Dembele. The mercurial youngster who has been scarcely seen amongst the first-team this season. Karamoko has only played for the senior side on four occasions. His last outing being a four-minute display against Hamilton back in February 2020.
Neil Lennon spoke about Dembele’s situation as recently as last month. As quoted by the Scotsman, the manager said: “We just have to be careful with him and not throw him in too early. He may even develop physically. We just have to be patient, we know he is a quality player but physically he still has a bit of development to do to be part of the first-team squad.”
Karamoko dazzled against Hibs in pre-season for Celtic
Indeed, tonight’s game against Hibs looks a tough one. Perhaps the second-toughest side we could be facing in the Premiership given their history for turning up against Celtic.
However, Karamoko actually has previous against them, albeit in pre-season. He was the shining star of Celtic’s 3-1 win over the Hibees in a heavily-rotated clash at Parkhead. It marked the club’s final pre-season game before the competitive action started too.
Dembele managed a superb finish after collecting a superb ball over the top from Luca Connell. He’s another of the youngsters who could be available this evening. As well as the goal, however, he was causing experienced veterans Paul Hanlon and David Gray no ends of problems. He also got plenty of joy against regular Hibs starter Josh Doig too.
After that display, Lennon stated he wanted Karamoko in and around the first-team this season (Scottish Sun). That hasn’t come to fruition, but now’s his chance. Presuming Ryan Christie can’t play tonight, Dembele deserves his chance to shine in this fixture. It’ll be played in the same closed-doors atmosphere he shined in during pre-season in any case.
There shouldn’t be any real nerves from him. He’ll also give Celtic a serious attacking threat from the right side. It makes perfect sense to give him a long-overdue runout tonight.
And the fans certainly seem to be pointing towards his return too:
Let's be honest, karamoko dembele masterclass incoming
— Todd (@toddwilson28) January 11, 2021
— pàulCallaghan (@paulCallaghan_) January 11, 2021
Unleash Karamoko Dembele @CelticFC
— Joe Whyte (@howlinwhippet) January 11, 2021
Karamoko Dembele hat trick. Easy. https://t.co/XAG9gBJstL
— Stephen R (@sr002402) January 11, 2021
if Karamoko Dembele doesn't play in this game – we'll have to resign wursellz to an uncomfortable reality…
— soropoonyero (@katipoonyero) January 11, 2021
Karamoko dembele getting a game the night 🤩
— Jay Quinn (@J4yQuinn) January 11, 2021
The team sheet will make interesting reading tonight then. Hopefully Karamoko Dembele and Luca Connell get a chance to show what they can do.
— Fran Devereaux (@Fran_Devereaux) January 11, 2021
So Karamoko might actually get a game then? Would be nice to see some of the younger players tonight, would love to see the likes of Luca Connell and Okoflex getting a run out
— Oran McDaid (@oranmcdaid1) January 11, 2021
a front 3 tonight of karamoko harper and oko-flex operation save the 10 is in full flow
— Andrew🍀 (@AMacNicol67) January 11, 2021