Moussa Dembele set to start for Celtic after impressive hat-trick for France's U21s
Last Updated: 14/11/17 6:07pm
Celtic forward Moussa Dembele staked his claim for a starting spot against Ross County this weekend with a hat-trick on international duty.
The striker, who has struggled with injury this season, scored three times in 11 minutes as France U21s came from behind to beat their Slovenian counterparts in a Group 9 qualifier on Monday night.
After slotting a 34th-minute penalty, Dembele volleyed in smartly at the far post before a stunning curling effort on the brink of half-time secured the win for France and a treble before the break.
The 21-year-old has scored seven goals in 10 matches for his country's U21s.
It was the quickest treble by a player in any French age group for 15 years and was a welcome return to form for Dembele, who earlier in the month missed the cut from Didier Deschamps' final national squad for friendlies with Wales and Germany.
Dembele has suffered with injury problems in his second season at Parkhead and has only made 12 appearances in all competitions, scoring six goals.
However, he has struck 36 times for Celtic in 60 appearances since signing from Fulham on July 1, 2016 and won the domestic treble in his first season with the Hoops.
His treble in Slovenia could see him edge Leigh Griffiths to a starting spot this weekend and against Paris Saint-Germain next week in the Champions League.
Boss Brendan Rodgers did start Dembele in front of Griffiths in Europe against Bayern Munich last month while the latter was forced out of Scotland's friendly against the Netherlands with the calf injury he sustained when coming on against the German champions at Celtic Park.
Defender Mikael Lustig was also in action on Monday night, helping Sweden keep a second successive clean sheet to book a place in next year's World Cup by edging Italy 1-0 over two legs.
Lustig posted jubilant videos of him and his team-mates celebrating the victory in the changing rooms in Milan, and captioned a picture with "(I can) find no words".