Karamoko Dembele signs Celtic professional contract until 2021

Karamoko Dembele

Karamoko Dembele has signed his first professional contract with Celtic until 2021.

Dembele, 15, joined the Hoops in 2013, aged 10, and made his U20s' debut against Hearts in October 2016 - coming off the bench for a side then seven years above his age group.

In a statement on the club's website, he said: "It means a lot to me to start my professional career at Celtic. I came here at a young age, and, after all the stuff me and family have been through together, it'll be good to make them proud.

"My goal is to play for the first team. As soon as I can, I'm going to try to get into the first team, 100 per cent. In the reserves, every training session, every game - it's all to prove myself to the manager that I can play in the first team."

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The teenager became an internet sensation after turning out for Celtic's development squad - seven years above his age group - in a 3-1 win over Hearts in October 2016.

Dembele also went viral after footage of him starring against a Barcelona youth team emerged a few months earlier.

"Getting attention at a young age has been hard, but I've obviously had my family to help me through that," he added.

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 30: Karamoko Dembele of Scotland is seen during the Scotland v Northern Ireland match during the U16 Vicrory Shield Tournament at The Oriam at Heriot Watt University on October 30, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Image: Dembele made his Celtic U20s debut in 2016

"You need to be strong mentally, you need to stay grounded, and you just need to get on with everything that you do on a daily basis.

"Seeing players come through the academy and into the first team gives you hope, because you know they've taken the same path. That means you've got a chance to make it into the first team if you work hard and give it your all.

"My brother Siriki, who plays for Peterborough United, first taught me how to play football. I wasn't always interested in football, but he brought me in and he helped me. He helps me in everything I do. If I have a bad game, he'll talk to me and he'll say, 'don't be down, keep your morale high'."

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