Opinion: 5 Celtic youngsters who could break through next season

With everything that’s going on it might seem like next season is miles away, but you can be sure the club is taking this chance to do some extra work to prepare for the future.

Nobody really knows how long the shutdown due to the Coronavirus will last, but it’s starting to look like clubs will lose out financially in some way, so that could have an impact on any Summer plans.

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A club like Celtic shouldn’t have any concerns about money in terms of simply trying to survive, but it’s possible that there will be less money to spend.

As a result, there could be more chances given to some of the youth players, so here’s a look at five who could make an impact next season (whenever that comes):

Karamoko Dembele

He’s been spoken about for such a long time but it’s easy to forget he’s still only 17, and is clearly still maturing in a football and physical sense. There’s no doubt that his technical ability is outstanding, and he’s shown the ability to leave senior pros looking foolish in his fleeting appearances. James Forrest’s form has been inconsistent this season, so having Dembele come in as a rotation option who could play in 10/15 games could be ideal for everyone.

Lee O’Connor

He was highly rated at Man United before he signed, but he suffered from the great partnership formed between Ajer and Jullien, while the emergence of Jeremie Frimpong prevented any opportunities on the right hand side. It’s hard to tell if a loan spell with a poor Partick Thistle side will aid his development, but he can play anywhere across the back line and could easily take the role in the squad currently occupied by Moritz Bauer.

Lee O’Connor has impressed for the reserves and Ireland

Ross Doohan

The young keeper has looked particularly impressive during his spell with Ayr, so it will be interesting to see what the club have planned for him. Obviously the main priority will be getting Fraser Forster signed up, but Craig Gordon could be on his way out so that could leave only Scott Bain. Doohan has shown the ability to race off his line and make himself big on 1v1 situations while also making some great reflex saves, so he has the potential to be a top class keeper going forward.

Mikey Johnston

Compared to the others on the list you could argue that Johnston has already “broken through” but injuries have kept him out of the team and he’s still a bit part player for now. He was kept out by Mohamed Elyounoussi earlier in the season but his form fell away and Johnston has shown quality and skill when he’s played, so Celtic may decide to stick with the youngster rather than paying millions for the Southampton loanee. It’s possible that Lenny might want a more experienced option to challenge for that position next season, but expect to see Johnston kick on.

Patryk Klimala

The second half of this season always looked like a “bedding-in” period for the Polish striker ahead of trying to establish himself further next campaign. We’ve only seen flashes so far so it’s too early to tell how good he will be, but he does look like he has the pace and instincts to get in behind and cause issues. In a strange way this break will give him a chance to get used to Scotland and hopefully get some training time under is belt with his new teammates, so there will be higher expectations next term.

A lot might depend on the future of some of the current stars, as any big sales could give Lenny more leeway in the transfer market, but there’s signs that the youngsters can step up and play a big role in the team going forward.

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Still trying to figure out exactly why Vidar Riseth hammered the ball across his own goal line that night in Perth....

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