Special moment helps Moussa Dembele get off the mark for Celtic

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spot

Summer signing Moussa Dembele’s first goal for Celtic was crucial, earning victory against Astana and a place in the Champions League play-off round.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spot

It was yet another special European night at Parkhead on Wednesday. Extra time and dreaded penalties seemed to beckon until the tie was settled in superb style.

Off the bench, it was Moussa Dembele’s time to make an impact. And that he did.

90 minutes struck on the clock as Dembele produced a piece of magic. Doing well to maintain balance on the far touchline his strength forced a defender on his backside, with the next embarrassed — nutmegged - just outside the box with the ball landing perfectly at the on-running Leigh Griffiths’ feet.

A stunning back-flick from his strike partner placed it right back into Dembele’s path. Control-feint-touch-foul. The flowing move was majestic. You could watch it over and over again.

The skills provided the first real hint of why the two Celtic strikers will lead their side to title number six in a row this campaign.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring the second goal with teammates

Griffiths had scored the opener via a penalty in the first half and was on everyone’s mind when the referee pointed to the spot after a rash challenge.

But 20-year-old Dembele is a man of confidence. That’s what comes with bullying young defences, comfortably making the step up into Fulham’s first team and prevailing as one of the top 10 highest goalscorers in the Championship — a division teenagers tend to struggle in.

Being strongly linked with some of the biggest clubs in the world before his move to the Scottish champions wouldn’t have done him any harm either, but missing the spot kick would've.

Scoring from 12 yards seemed the hard part from the way the Frenchman glided through the Kazakh’s defence to earn the opportunity.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele scores the second goal from the penalty spot

Dembele’s one step run-up had the Hoops fans deeply sceptical, but in truth it was never in doubt. He smashed it home into the left side of the net, cool as you like amid the anticipation. A perfect run, a perfect pen. It now leaves Celtic two games away from the group stage.

Still playing catch-up in his fitness, the youngster represents quite the coup for Brendan Rodgers. The new boss embraced the winning goalscorer at full-time knowing his first goal will mark the start of many more.

It would have been easy for Dembele to grab someone else’s glory but he came on, changed the match in a breathtaking moment and placed his name with those to have lit up Parkhead on a famous European night.

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