It’s now become clear that there’s something not right regarding Karamoko Dembele and his Celtic situation.
The long-heralded young Lennoxtown talent looked primed to break into the first-team this season.
Manager Neil Lennon said as much at the start of the season. After Dembele rinsed Hibernian in a pre-season friendly, Lennon was adamant that he would be in and around the first-team more often this term. Here’s what the manager said as recently as pre-season via the Scottish Sun
“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.”
So you would think that the last week would’ve been the ideal time for him to shine. Celtic have a total of 14 players missing due to Chris Jullien’s Covid case and the whole Dubai nonsense. It was widely knows that the youth were going to get their opportunities to shine.
Karamoko Dembele Celtic situation shouldn’t leave anyone comfortable
That came to pass too. Armstrong Oko-Flex came on for the closing stages of draws against Hibernian and Livingston respectively. Cameron Harper was given an hour or so against Hibs. We managed to see more of Euan Henderson and Stephen Welsh too. But Dembele you would’ve expected would’ve been the leading name from the academy.
Instead, all he received was a short 10-minute cameo on Monday night against Hibs. Yesterday, he remained an unused substitute despite the fact Celtic needed a goal to bring some joy to Parkhead.
Listen, I’m not saying that Dembele would’ve come on, skinned a few men before chipping the Livingston goalkeeper. He may not have been a game-changer. But the fact is we were made to believe his development was way further along than this. That he was one of the leading candidates for more game-time this season.
Even taking last week away from it, Dembele had only previously been given four minutes all season. Had the Covid stuff not happened, he still likely would’ve been on four too. That’s a pretty grim reality for a player we were told was going to be integrated into the first-team this term.
It really doesn’t help that it coincides with his contract running out at the end of the season either. Dembele signed his first professional contract with the Hoops back in December 2018. The fact it wasn’t a longer-term deal was eyebrow-raising at the time. And now he’s just months away from leaving the club if another contract isn’t sorted.
And it’s clear supporters don’t feel too comfortable with the Dembele situation either. Here’s a look at what some are saying on social media:
How on earth is Karamoko Dembele being kept out of this brutal team? Another monumental failure of this current management regime. Clear out required.
— Ged Fitzsimmons (@gedfitzfilm) January 16, 2021
Celtic genuinely have something against Karamoko Dembele
— Scott Browne (@ScottBrowne67) January 16, 2021
Aye, if Karamoko Dembele and Oko-Flex can't get a start with so many first team regulars out, then they'd be perfectly right to want to leave. Can't blame them.
— James (@Kryten1888) January 16, 2021
Karamoko Dembele was a superstar in the making only 18 months ago.
Surprising this coaching team has mismanaged his development so much that he’s only managed 13 minutes in 2 games in a depleted squad.
— TheMaestro1888 (@TheMaestro1888) January 16, 2021
If ever a game was crying out for some solo magic up front it was that one. If only we had Scotland's brightest talent and dribbler in our squad….oh wait! We did!! @kdembele_10 Karamoko Dembele deserves a chance and may just have made the difference by taking on that defence!
— Smelltheglove (@smelltheglove7) January 16, 2021
As if Karamoko Dembele didn’t get any minutes today. Embarrassing
— Liam Hoare (@LiamHoare93) January 16, 2021
Karamoko Dembele, our great prospect, can’t get a game with 13 first team players out the team 🤔
— Kitson (@Kitson67) January 16, 2021
Oko-Flex coming on while Dembele sits on the bench. Why do you hate us Celtic? 🥺
— Aaron (@lil_cathlico) January 16, 2021