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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

16-year-old Celtic wonderkid could make his first-team debut this weekend

The Scottish Premiership champions face Hearts on Sunday, and Karamoko Dembele is line to be involved.

Dembele facing Ciaran Dickson of Rangers in the Scottish FA Youth Cup final.
Dembele facing Ciaran Dickson of Rangers in the Scottish FA Youth Cup final.
Image: Ian Rutherford

KARAMOKO DEMBELE HAS been making headlines since the age of 13 and may be about to make more as a 16-year-old on the brink of a senior debut at Celtic.

The youngster first registered on the radar of those outside of Glasgow when handed a bow at U20 level when seven years younger than those who regularly grace such a stage.

Since then, much interest has been shown in a teenage talent who has graced youth internationals with England and Scotland.

He is being tipped to reach the very top of the game, but those at Parkhead are aware of the need to manage his development carefully and avoid taking any unnecessary risks with a player they have tied to professional terms.

Dembele, who was born in London to Ivorian parents, is not the first exciting prospect to be given a big billing and many before him have struggled to deliver on expectation.

Celtic, though, believe that they have a potential superstar on their books and Neil Lennon is ready to offer him a first-team outing in a final day showdown against Hearts on Sunday.

The Hoops boss told reporters ahead of an outing on home soil that will see the Scottish Premiership champions take in a title presentation:

Karamoko Dembele is a possibility for Sunday. He’s training with the squad this week, as is Ewan Henderson.

“We’ve got boys that are carrying knocks and we don’t feel the need to risk them ahead of the cup final.

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“Kieran Tierney and James Forrest won’t be involved at the weekend but both should be fit for the cup final.”

Celtic, who are chasing down another domestic treble, are set to face Hearts again in the Scottish Cup final on 25 May.

The hope is that more silverware will be secured at Hampden Park, but for now, Lennon and his side are determined to make the most of their title-winning triumph.

He added: “It’s always a very special occasion and great atmosphere. “Ultimately, it’s about Scott Brown picking up the trophy and standing alongside a podium full of players. We’ve done it eight times in a row, which is very difficult to do.”

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