"Benefit of this club"; Celtic coach on the value of a pathway for Academy talents

By Euan Davidson

March 4, 2022

No matter how you look at it, Tommy McIntyre has done a superb job with the Celtic B Team, and the Academy talents therein.

After years of wrangling over a B Team in the SPFL, Celtic had to settle for a place in the SLFL. The benefits, though, have been obvious. We’ve seen Joey Dawson, Owen Moffat, Ben Doak and Dane Murray in the first team. Exceptionally young players like Rocco Vata, Tsanelo Letsosa and Adam Brooks have also made waves, and look like stars of the future.

With the Glasgow Cup coming up, and a derby against Rangers to negotiate, you’d forgive McIntyre for leaning on his more experienced players (relatively speaking) for Saturday’s derby. But instead, he’s talked up the benefits of playing for Celtic at any level.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It doesn’t matter how young you are, if you’re good enough for games like this, you’re old enough. McIntyre explained [Celtic FC]: “That’s the benefit of playing at this club.

“We give youth a chance. They need to see a clear pathway. For some of them, there might be four years of a [age] difference come Saturday. But if they’re good enough, they’re old enough. We’re never going to hold anyone back, if they’re good enough they’ll get promoted and do well.

“You’ve seen that so far this season. They’ll no have any fears, they’re ready for it.”

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67 Hail Hail chats to Postecoglou and McGregor after another huge Celtic win | With Scott McDonald
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Celtic B boss Tommy McIntyre has done incredible job nurturing Academy talent

The credit for playing Academy talents in the Celtic first-team will generally go to Ange Postecoglou. After all, he’s the one with the biggest decisions to make, with the most risk attached.

For every Celtic Academy talent that breaks through, though, credit has to be apportioned to Tommy McIntyre. It’s been an absolute gift for him getting to lead a team through a structured season. The way the B Team play, though, and how quickly players have developed?

That’s on him and his staff.

Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

The Celtic Academy has had successes over the last decade, but they’ve hardly been constant. We’re in a position now where Callum McGregor is our captain, with Anthony Ralston, Stephen Welsh and James Forrest all fixtures in the first-team squad. It wasn’t always thus, however.

With a clearer pathway from youth ranks to B Team to first-team, and plenty of players making themselves known, the picture is a much brighter one than it was just a year ago.

We talk about how Ange Postecoglou “gets it”, and he does. But Tommy McIntyre’s steadfast commitment to playing young talents in competitive games deserves acclaim in its own right.

With Rangers coming up at the weekend, it might be the biggest test yet for McIntyre as Celtic B Team coach. Provided we get a result, it’ll be down to him.

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