New Celtic star Jonathan Afolabi has been hailed as an "exceptional" talent after he starred for Ireland's under-19s in their European Championship semi-final run.

The playmaker signed a two-year deal at Parkhead yesterday and watched from the stands as his new teammates hobbled past Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup.

Having been released by Southampton at the end of last season, Afolabi, at just 19-years-old, would have been forgiven for taking some time to feel sorry for himself.

Celtic close in on Birger Meling after landing striker Jonathan Afolabi

But Ireland under-21s manager Stephen Kenny heaped praise on his mindset for not allowing it to have any affect on his tournament form.

Speaking to Pundit Arena, Kenny said at the time:  "One of the things that has been a plus is the form of Jonathan Afolabi.

"He’s been one of the best centre-forwards in the tournament without a doubt.

"A lot of players when they’re released from clubs it’s quite complex. 

"Human emotion is what it is, some people maybe come home, get deflated and give up football.

"They fall out of love with the game for a year, it takes them sometimes a year to get the motivation back to get back playing. Jonathan has taken a setback but he hasn’t allowed that setback to set him back.

"He’s been very determined to show his quality and I think that was evident in Russia in the qualifying campaign, he was very prominent and I think he’s shown everyone a great example of how to react when you have been let go. 

"He’s been exceptional."

Ireland went on to lose 4-0 in the semis to Portugal.