With contract mystery solved, Celtic must play youngster Karamoko Dembele

By Euan Davidson

April 24, 2021

Last night, my fine colleague John McGinley cleared up some confusion over Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele.

We were under the impression that the young winger might be taking off this summer. Now, with some clarity in mind, our question changes. What was “why aren’t we extending his deal?” is now “why don’t we play the guy?”.

We saw, in a very brief flash, that Dembele had bulked up a little, certainly enough to add to his confidence in taking players on [WhoScored?]. A speed merchant, for sure, young Karamoko has all the skills that excite Celtic supporters. There’s a long-established history of exciting wingers at the club, after all.

Especially from the club’s own Academy. Jimmy Johnstone is the historic example, but in more recent years we’ve watched Aiden McGeady and James Forrest become mainstays. Granted, for every Forrest there are a number of others who don’t make the grade. Ross Wallace really deserved more chances, while Cameron Harper is playing for New York Red Bulls.

So, with that clarity in mind, the focus is now on John Kennedy. The verve and zip of Celtic playing 4-2-3-1 was worlds apart from the drudgery of the diamond against Rangers. The interim boss finally looked like he had a way of getting this squad to work with fluidity.

Without Forrest though, that fell apart. And now we’re at a crossroads with, admittedly, little to play for.

Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele / (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Nothing to lose: play Karamoko Dembele

If Forrest still has niggling injury worries, then it doesn’t make sense to potentially worsen his fitness. There’s nothing really to play for, apart from pride. Another defeat against Rangers would be a blow to morale, certainly, but there’s no material consequence of our next run of games.

So, why not revert to the system that, temporarily, reminded of us the good Celtic teams of years past? The Bhoys supporters have always, always preferred attacking, wide play from their sides. Karamoko Dembele showed in 10 minutes that he can run at opposition players and create opportunities.

It’d add some intrigue and excitement to the chore these games are. While a youth movement in general would be excellent to see, it doesn’t seem incredibly likely.

At least, though, something to get us off our couches in the form of a mazy Dembele run would be something to talk about. Something that would represent an iota of optimism for the future, as we struggle on without a manager, and all the rest.

John Kennedy should really want to leave his interim role with some kind of legacy. An incredibly hyped winger coming good for the Bhoys in Green would be that.

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