Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers pleased to see ‘outstanding’ Moussa Dembele star for France U21s

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers (right) with Moussa Dembele (SNS Group / Alan Harvey)

CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers believes Moussa Dembele’s brilliant hat-trick for France Under-21s confirmed the striker was back to his sharpest.

The 21-year-old Hoops hitman scored three times in 12 minutes for Les Bleuets in their 3-1 win over Slovenia in Domzale on Monday night.

Rodgers tipped Dembele to make the step up to the senior squad “in time”, but was for now happy to see him fully recovered from a hamstring injury which kept him out for two months earlier in the season.

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Ahead Saturday’s trip to Ross County, the Northern Irishman said: “It was a case of managing his fitness.

“He needed the time with the injury that he has had and now you see him back to full fitness.

“He took his goals really well, especially the one from outside the box, it was a great finish and it was good to see him finish inside the box – that’s something that he has developed over the last 17 months.

“He is an outstanding talent.

“There are obviously a lot of talented players that are in the national team already.

“But there is no doubt that he has the belief and the talent to do that (step up).

“He showed that here at Champions League level and I have no doubt that he can make that step, whether it is going to be before the World Cup or not, we shall see.

“He is certainly a big talent and he can do more than what he is doing, scoring goals at club level and for the under-21s and, like you see with other countries, if you can make that step up, which I believe Moussa can, then he has a great future at full international level.”

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Celtic’s last game before the international break saw them break their own 100-year-old British record of 62 domestic games without defeat with a 4-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Kieran Tierney, named Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month for October, is looking for that record to be stretched further against the Staggies.

The 20-year-old left-back said: “We tried not to talk about it too much but on the day it was in the team-talk about what we could achieve and how it would go down in history.

“So it was great for us to do that and we will be looking to kick on.

“It will be another tough game for us. They always make it tough for us up there but we look forward to it and hopefully we can go there and play well.”

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