Oliver Burke was probably the only man inside Celtic Park not on his feet when Karamoko Dembele took to the field on Sunday. The Scottish international was substituted at half-time following another anonymous display, and made way for a lively 16-year-old.
Dembele quickly showed the hype around him is justified as he made far more of an impact in five minutes than Burke had in the previous forty-five. The teenager had two notable efforts – one off target and one saved – during a scintillating debut.
Now Burke, who has had a miserable time of late, will surely want his loan spell to end as soon as possible.
All pace, no brain
Burke has offered precious little in a Celtic shirt over the past four months. He made a good start to life under Brendan Rodgers but his form has dramatically weakened since the Northern Irishman departed for Leicester.
Sunday’s victory over Hearts was Burke’s final chance to stake a claim for a start at Hampden. He just didn’t look interested. It seems baffling that the attacker doesn’t want to run in behind, given his main (and possibly only) attribute is his pace.
At the tender age of 16, Dembele already has so much more to offer. Like Burke he has pace, but he supplements it well with trickery and a neat final ball.
The future is clearly bright for Dembele but it doesn’t look so good for Burke, six years his elder.