THE speed with which Karamoko Dembele crash-landed on to a nation’s collective consciousness this week told of two things.

Firstly, in the build-up to international weekend there is always a greater sports news vacuum that needs filled somehow. And, secondly, in this modern era of low attention spans and even lower boredom thresholds, there has been a shift towards speculating idly about the future rather than giving due consideration to the present.

It was not hard, then, to feel a touch sorry for Moussa Dembele as word of his talented but unrelated namesake scorched across the internet. Twelve goals in his first few months with Celtic – including a hat-trick against Rangers and two against Manchester City – represent a wholly impressive return for the 20 year-old, leading to chatter about a call-up to the full French squad. If the striker was feeling smugly satisfied with his lot, however, then the sight of an online poll would have quickly toppled him from his perch.

Read more: Ruud Gullit: Celtic are right to fast track Karamoko Dembele into senior footballHeraldScotland: Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates his hat-trick

“Celtic fans!” it began, with the now ubiquitous exclamation mark to make everyone aware that this was a matter of huge import. “Who do you prefer – Mousse Dembele or Karamako Dembele?”

There didn’t seem any real reason for making supporters choose between one and the other but, if they had the metaphorical pistol placed at their head, it is difficult to imagine too many plunging for a 13 year-old kid with an impressive You Tube reel over this season’s top scorer. Although in an age where footage of someone being nutmegged can get millions of web hits and Twitter retweets then you can never be too sure.

Read more: Ruud Gullit: Celtic are right to fast track Karamoko Dembele into senior football

What can be said with certainty, however, is that the Karamako Dembele train has left the station and is now bulleting down the track. There can be no turning back now. A talent like his rarely remains suppressed for long but having now made his debut for the Celtic under-20 team the genie is truly out of the bottle.

One bookmaker - an industry that never refuses the opportunity to clumsily clamber on top of any populist bandwagon – was soon sending out an email offering odds on Karamako going on to overhaul Henrik Larsson’s record as Celtic’s all-time leading scorer, or going on to one day sign for Barcelona. Or perhaps both. Even as a publicity stunt, it seemed mindbogglingly opportunistic.

Karamoko, of Ivorian stock but born in London and raised in Govan, is still a child. He has three years before he can sign a professional contract with any club and a lot of growing up to do before then.

The photos of him replacing Jack Aitchison, himself only 16, for his Celtic under-20 debut this week showed the development he still has to do. In one picture he barely came up to his opponent’s chest. The hope is his progression, both as a player and as a person, is handled delicately by all concerned and with his best interests’ at heart. That, admittedly, may be wishful thinking bordering on naivety.

Celtic have stated it is their intention to take it gradually. “The coaches at our U13 and 14 levels have been fantastic in nurturing his potential but it is crucial that we do not push him too far, too soon,” said head of youth Chris McCart. The hope is they continue to follow that line.

Karamoko has already trained with Brendan Rodgers’ first-team squad which will have served as terrific experience and given a young lad a taste of what could lie ahead if he sticks in. His short substitute cameo for the Development squad will also have done him no harm as a one-off. But he is not physically or mentally mature enough to be exposed to both on a regular basis.

There will only be so many times a 20 year-old opponent, or a frustrated senior team-mate, will watch Karamoko go through his full range of tricks and flicks before succumbing to the desire to put him up in the air. And that is not a situation either fair to the player or to those trying to mark him. Those who will trot out the old cliché about “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough” are not taking sufficient cognisance of a young boy’s welfare.

Read more: Ruud Gullit: Celtic are right to fast track Karamoko Dembele into senior football

Many are the tales of teenage talents who failed to make good on that potential. And Karamoko, now he has been exposed to the full glare of the spotlight, may find that transition more challenging than most.

There will be a clamour from clubs all across the continent for him to sign his first professional contract with them, offers of eye-watering riches for both him and his family. He will find himself similarly pulled one way and then the other by those countries he is eligible to represent at international level. And there will be media scrutiny on “the new Celtic wonderkid” like never before.

Islam Feruz is the obvious comparison of a young Celtic star that burned bright before fading just as fast. Karamoko, though, will find his own path. The hope is he will be allowed to do that when he is ready.