The Karamoko Dembele question at Celtic

By John McGinley

October 20, 2020

Given he is still just 17, some may find it churlish for us to wonder what is going on with Karamoko Dembele at Celtic right now.

That’s not an age you’d typically expect a player to make regular appearances for the Hoops at.

Yet Dembele is no ordinary teenager and, with his progress having been hyped for years now, there was a realistic expectation that this season could be his breakthrough one.

My colleague Hamish Carton has taken a closer look at the young attacker’s situation on our YouTube channel today, which you can enjoy below and via this link (like and subscribe!).

Or, you can simply keep reading and take in my own thoughts!

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Like many fans, I’ve been following Dembele’s progress closely at the Bhoys over the last few years.

From early introductions into the development team and exciting YouTube clips to the battle between Scotland and England for his international football, he’s been a fascinating young player.

He made his senior debut for the club at the tail-end of the 2018/19 season, and it was a sign he could in fact play a big part under Neil Lennon following the manager’s return to the dugout.

However, with zero starts and just three further substitute appearances, Dembele hasn’t exactly made a significant impact in the first-team.

The youngster is now training with the senior squad every day at Lennoxtown and, perhaps surprisingly, wasn’t sent out on loan during the elongated transfer window.

That says to me there is still hope of being in Lennon’s plans over the next few months – but where is he? It’s something I’d like to see Lennon address in press conferences over the next while.

Likely, there is an excellent explanation for the fact he hasn’t made a match squad since 9th August, despite larger substitute bench numbers.

One could be the tactical switch to a 3-5-2 system. There is less need for an out-and-out winger when the manager is deploying wing-backs.

It’s also possible that the youngster is simply not showing enough in training right now.

Karamoko Dembele in action for Celtic last year / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Still, with his first professional contract at Celtic expiring next year, it’d be great to hear from the manager about the progress that Dembele is making.

His undoubted ability on the ball and penchant for the creative and unexpected could be the kind of spark we need in this team as the manager searches for answers to the problems at Paradise.

It worked with Jeremie Frimpong last year, why not with Dembele?

In other news, we’ve taken a look at what the Italian media are saying about Celtic ahead of Milan’s visit to Glasgow.