On the face of things, Karamoko Dembele’s minutes from the bench against Ross County on Saturday might not be seen as notable.

It wasn’t his debut after all and he’s even played already this season.

However, his third appearance was the first to come in a match that had stakes. Prior appearances against Hearts and Cluj came when points did not matter in the slightest.

The fact he was even selected on the bench at all points to the youngster being utilised more in the second half of the season, with Lennon searching for depth and options beyond his recognised wingers.

The manager would not have given him the nod in the matchday squad if he felt the player wasn’t reaching the level where he can be relied upon.

Scottish Premiership points are too vital right now to have any passengers in the team, whether on the bench or not.

Hype has surrounded Dembele for years, stretching back to 2016 when as a 13-year-old he made his debut for the club’s U20 side (BBC).

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However, we now may be about to witness him becoming a more functional member of the Celtic first-team.

That’s much more exciting.

Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele

Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Lennon notably praised the youngster back in December when he was given minutes in the Europa League, becoming the club’s youngest ever player in Europe.

As quoted by The Herald: “We think very highly of [Dembele]. But that milestone wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.

“Obviously, I wanted to give him some experience and I want to keep him around the first-team squad because I think he’s a real talent.

“For him to get that little bit of experience at this level, allied to Scott’s performance tonight, delighted me.”

Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele

Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A starring turn in a reserves match against Clyde last week, in which he scored a wonder goal, was more evidence of the England youth international’s enormous potential.

With his inclusion at the weekend, it seems that the teenager is beginning to impress his manager even more and that can only bode well for both the player’s development and for Celtic.

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