Celtic B Team announced: Hjelde out, but Shaw, Connell and Murray all feature
Celtic B Team face Annan Athletic in the SPFL Trust Trophy tonight, and manager Tommy McIntyre has included some familiar names.
Summer signings Liam Shaw and Bosun Lawal feature, alongside Dane Murray, Lee O’Connor, Luca Connell, Kerr McInroy and Scott Robertson.
Up front, Celtic Academy dynamo Owen Moffat lines up with Adam Brooks, a young man who’s been on fire for the B Team thus far.
In many ways, it’s a very young, but also very experienced team. Luca Connell, for example, has Championship experience with Bolton. Scott Robertson had two loan spells in England last year, while Lee O’Connor was at Tranmere Rovers.
You’d expect, therefore, for this group of lads to do the business against Annan Athletic tonight. There is a rather annoying wrinkle, however; promising youth player Leo Hjelde, mired in transfer speculation, has not made the squad.
Last time a Celtic Colts side took on the Borders team, it was Annan Athletic who prospered. A young Bhoys squad lost 4-0 back in 2018.
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It’ll be with that clash in mind, then, that Tommy McIntyre has picked tonight’s team. There’s still plenty of youthful exuberance, but enough know-how to surely negotiate this cup tie.
Celtic B Team: with Shaw, Connell and more in tow, this will be an exciting watch
There’s plenty to get excited about here. For one thing, it’ll be great to see Connell and Shaw playing together in a competitive fixture. The duo, both formerly of EFL clubs, could well be a star midfield duo for Celtic in years to come.
There’s also a chance for the likes of O’Connor, who was with the first team for pre-season, and Moffat to build on what they showed in Wales and Bristol.
Annan Athletic are no mugs, obviously. From an entertainment perspective, though, it’s hard to look beyond the Celtic B Team. With real dynamism, defensive solidity and attacking threat, this is legitimately an XI who’d be decent at SPFL level.
Speaking to 67 Hail Hail yesterday, Tommy McIntyre talked of his excitement about the opportunities Celtic’s young players are getting. He said:
“There’s a lot of competition there. [The B Team] has served a purpose, in the sense that young players see, maybe young players in the First Team, young players in the Academy see there’s a pathway there.
“It should excite them. And it should stimulate them to try and progress to the next level, and we’re seeing that.
“We’ve been really – I wouldn’t say surprised – in terms of how quickly they’ve adjusted to the type of game, the level of game, against some tough opposition. It was going to be a great learning curve for them, and they’re taking everything on board.”
With such a strong compliment of players to choose from, tonight represents a real test. But a very exciting one for the Celtic B Team.