Celtic

By Harvey Byrne

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has labelled Celtic star Moussa Dembele as “exceptional” ahead of Tuesday evening’s Champions League clash.

The Hoops are preparing to travel to the Etihad Stadium for an encounter which means little, as Manchester City have already qualified and Celtic are eliminated.

However, Guardiola may use it as an opportunity to get a first hand look at 20-year-old Dembele.

The former Barcelona manager spoke highly of the youngster before the clash, with Dembele scoring two goals in the previous September meeting.

“If you read the newspapers in the last six months, since I became a coach at Manchester City, maybe I have had contact with 126 players to buy them for Manchester City,” said Guardiola in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by the Sun. “Dembele is another one. Every week I have contact for the next season to change players. Alexis (Sanchez) was the last one.

“But the quality (in Dembele) is there. He is an exceptional player.”

Dembele was picked up by Celtic on a four-year deal in the summer from Championship outfit Fulham.

He was relatively unknown before the season started, but with 17 goals in 28 appearances for Celtic he has emerged as one of Europe’s brightest young talents.

Hoops fans will be hoping Dembele remains at the club for a few more years, but with top league managers now aware of him, the striker could be tempted by a move away.

The young starlet has helped Celtic move eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership table, playing three games less than second placed Rangers.

They are in search of their sixth consecutive league title and they will face Partick in the league next on Friday.

In other Celtic news, Scott Brown has highlighted the importance of this Hoops trio.