KARAMOKO DEMBELE, hailed as a Celtic Wonderbhoy four years ago, celebrated his 19th birthday in style yesterday.
The tricky winger, who has failed to figure in a first-team encounter for Ange Postecoglou in this campaign after sustaining a serious ankle injury in a pre-season game at Bristol City, netted in the B team’s thrilling 3-3 Glasgow Cup stalemate with Queen’s Park at Pollok Juniors’ Newlandsfield ground.
Tommy McIntyre’s youngsters were 3-1 adrift at the time when the teenager stepped up to fire in a penalty-kick just before the hour mark to throw his team a lifeline.
Ironically, the Hoops had got off to the best of starts in the first minute with a goal from Joey Dawson and then required an equaliser in the fading moments from Tsoanelo Letsosa to secure a stalemate with their Hampden opponents.
Ronan Darcy nullied the early advantage with a seventh-minute equaliser and Jack Thomson fired the League One outfit ahead via a spot-kick in the 18th minute.
Toby Oluwayemi was beaten again by Scott Williamson enight minutes from the interval, but Dembele kicked-started the fightback when he was floored in the box by a desperate defender and the pacy attacker, who scored his first goal for the top side in the 4-0 home win over St Johnstone in May last year, thumped his effort high into the net.
The Parkhead kids chased the leveller as boss McIntyre sent on substitutes Letsosa and Rocco Vata for Owen Moffat and Adam Brooks, according to the report on the Celtic website.
Ben Doak, who had also come on for Dawson, showed off his pace on the right, but his pass to Dembele saw the Queen’s keeper make a fine save.
A minute from time, Celtic got their reward when Letsosa’s shot from outside the box flew into the top corner to make it honours even at the final whistle.
Dembele, who is out of contract in the summer, is likely to get a first-team chance from Postecoglou is his maintains this level of form.
TEAM: Oluwayemi; Dede, Paterson, Murray, Corr (sub: MacKenzie), Carse; Dembele, Summers, Dawson (sub: Doak); Moffat (sub: Letsosa), Brooks (sub: Vata).