THE first thing to say about Karamoko Dembele is that he’s 13-years-old.

Now think about what you were doing at that age. Building dens, chapping doors then running away, if you were a mischievous kid, and, of course, playing football. This lad might well be doing all of these things, but the difference is he’s really, really good at one of them.

Young Dembele might be a world class exponent in ‘chappie’ but his excellence in annoying neighbours when they are watching telly is not as of yet on YouTube. What he can do with a football at his feet, or left foot to be precise, is and after making his debut for the Celtic under-20 side on Monday night these skills quickly became a social media phenomenon.

The name of Karamoko Dembele has been floating about for the best part of a year now. Anyone who regularly reports on Celtic has been told there was a kid at the club playing in the youth ranks that just might, that’s might, be something truly special.

Indeed, this observer has been told that the big clubs in England are well aware of the Celtic boy born in the Ivory Coast. Manchester United and Arsenal have apparently had at least a look at him. The name might be new to most but his reputation has been known for some time.

His family lives in Govan and have done so since he was a baby. This means he is eligible to play for Scotland under the residency rules. So are we allowed to get excited?

“We think he’s got it but don’t do anything yet because that just puts more pressure on him,” was the message more than one at Celtic gave to myself in recent months. So I did not. After all, writing that some first year pupil is going to be another Jimmy Johnstone is unfair, inappropriate and incredibly premature.

However, the moment Tommy McIntyre, who coaches the Celtic under-20 team, named Dembele, no relation to Moussa, to face Hearts at Cappielow, people were going to sit up and take notice.

And then when his highlights reel started to do the rounds last on Monday night, imagine Brian Glover in Kes except this time it’s the wee guy making mugs of the big lads, and you are there. Dembele got on for the last nine minutes, appropriately for Jack Aitchison who at 16 became Celtic’s youngest ever first-team debutant.

Chris McCart, Celtic’s Head of Youth, is a smart man and knows that while he has a talent on his hands, to shout from the roof tops about a boy who is yet to reach puberty would be a nonsense.

He said: “We were all delighted to see Karamoko make his debut for the Development Squad against Hearts in what proved to be an entertaining game.

“The fact that he was playing against other players seven years his senior gives an indication of the quality this young boy possesses and it was also fitting that he came on for Jack Aitchison, the club’s youngest-ever goal scorer.

“What we need to remember, though, is that Karamoko is just 13-years-old. He was given a chance to play on merit, but it is very important that we continue their development at a measured pace.

“Karamoko is still a young boy and has a lot of growing to do, both physically and mentally. The coaches at our Under 13 and 14 levels have been fantastic in nurturing his potential but it is crucial that we do not push him too far, too soon.

“He has a lot of hard work ahead of him to make it to the top and we won’t rush that, but we also know Karamoko, and the other talented young players we have here, is at the perfect place to continue his progress and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this young player.”

And it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Dembele was named player of the tournament in the St Kevin's Boys club tournament in Dublin last summer. The previous Celt to be given such an honour was Aiden McGeady.  An under-15 Celtic team faced West Bromwich Albion, Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona and Dembele was unanimously voted the best player on display.

The games were filmed by a company called KeepItOnTheDeck and the comments attributed to them included; “None of the Barca lads could get near him,” and “He was just too quick and skilful. Barcelona coaches took note of him during the tournament. They'll be watching his progress, no doubt. “

Celtic's Under-13s also won the prestigious Bassevelde Cup in Belgium last month, beating Borussia Dortmund in the final. Guess who was voted player of the tournament?

Celtic insiders stress that even for a 13-year-old, Dembele is small – is looks about nine - and they are waiting to see how he grows both physically and mentally. His skill is not in doubt; however, he would not be the first naturally gifted young footballer who lets himself down by not working on every aspect needed to become a professional given that so much comes to him so naturally.

But that is for another day.

Right now, Dembele has a chance to become a real heart-warming story. You can only wish him every bit of luck in the world.