John Hartson has praised Celtic prodigy Karamoko Dembele following his first-team debut and expects him to make further steps into the senior team next season.
Neil Lennon decided to draft the 16-year-old into his match day squad for the final day of the league season in the win over Hearts, who they face at the weekend in the Scottish Cup final.
The teenage attacker was substituted on at half-time and he got supporters off their seats at Parkhead.
He is a youngster from the academy renowned for his trickery and he showed great confidence to replicate some quality moments for the first team.
Dembele only turned 16 back in February and he’s someone that has quite the glowing reputation now in Scotland.
Ex-Celtic striker Hartson waxed lyrical about him following his senior bow and believes there is much more to come.
“He thoroughly deserved [to be] playing in the second-half on Sunday. I really enjoyed watching him take on the Hearts defenders. It was great to see him get thumped, then got back on his feet and continue his run,” Hartson wrote in the Glasgow Evening Times.
“I can see him playing more first-team games next season.
“Dembele showed great maturity in his first 45 minutes of senior football. His team-mates were keen to get him on the ball because they know how good he is.
Dembele was fearless against Hearts in possession and it’s that type of arrogance that is needed for a youngster to make an impression at the elite level.
The versatile attacker can play on the right flank or through the middle and he’s got an excellent turn of speed.
It’s easy for Bhoys fans to get carried away by Dembele’s display, but it was still just a second-half cameo and there will be much sterner toughs ahead.
There are some arguments about whether he should make the squad for the cup final, but that may come too soon and he should just take confidence from how quickly he’s got a senior opportunity.