TEENAGE Wonder Bhoy Karamoko Dembele made his Celtic bow yesterday as he replaced an international forward who has cost £28million in transfer fees.
If the youngster, who took over from Oliver Burke at half-time, was fazed by the situation you can only applaud his disguise.
Dembele had the 60,000 sell-out crowd revelling in the carnival atmosphere as he took centre stage in the 2-1 triumph over Hearts at Parkhead on the day the eighth successive crown was presented.
The London-born kid who moved to Glasgow with his family when he was one year old lit up the east end of Glasgow on a grey afternoon with a tenacious and talented performance. The Mighty Mite took a sore one from defender Aaron Hickey only minutes after making his debut, but he ignored the scything challenge that brought a booking, picked himself up, raced at the opposition goal and walloped in a ferocious drive that thundered just off target with the keeper a spectator.
In an instant, Dembele had won the hearts of the Hoops support – and the respect of the opposition defenders.
The 16-year-old skill-laden winger agreed a two-year deal earlier this season, so the followers should enjoy the magical ability of a prospect who will be bombarded with silly money offers in a couple of years.
Mikey Johnston deservedly won the Man of the Match award, but the 20-year-old raider was quick to praise his tiny tot team-mate who is four years his junior.
ON THE BALL…Karamoko Dembele lives up to the hype.
The two-goal star of the show, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Karamoko is an exceptional talent. He was brilliant when he came on and you could see the confidence he has in abundance. It shows in how he plays.
“He really showed what he can do in spells. There’s obviously a lot of hype around him, but I think it’s justified.
“He just needs to deal with that and make sure he has good people around him. I’m sure everyone at the club – the fans, the staff and all the older players – will be really help him and keep his feet on the ground.
“He has trained with the first team quite a few times now and he has shown us all how good he is.
“The fans got a glimpse of that here in this match. He’s still only 16, so he’s still got a lot of hard work to do, but he’s a great talent.”