Celtic youngster Ben McPherson gets first-team training call ahead of Hearts

By John McGinley

May 6, 2023

Young Celtic defender Ben McPherson has been training with the Bhoys first team this week after a leg injury sustained by Alistair Johnston ruled the Canadian out of upcoming matches.

Johnston collided with Borna Barisic during last week’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden. While Ange Postecoglou thinks there’s a chance he returns before the end of the season, that’s being reviewed on a week-to-week basis. He is definitely not available for tomorrow’s trip to Tynecastle.

Anthony Ralston is expected to get a starting opportunity in Postecoglou’s eleven in the meantime, but it seems McPherson has been drafted in to provide cover and competition while Johnston is on the sidelines.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The 19-year-old player has had a strong season with Celtic B, making 31 appearances in all competitions – also being called up to represent Scotland at U19 level.

He’s been spotted in training photos published by the club over the past couple of days, suggesting he’s in the running to make it into a match squad soon.

McPherson has had exposure to senior training previously, but this could be his first real chance to make a positive impression and push for minutes under the Celtic boss.

Postecoglou has already handed debuts to Rocco Vata, Ben Summers and Bosun Lawal this season, all of whom are now training full-time with the first-team group at Lennoxtown.

The Celtic manager reiterated in a media conference this week that he won’t be handing out minutes to young players ceremonially in the closing stages of the season, even when there’s nothing to play for. The Australian will only give playing time to those who have earned it.

In other news, Dens Park for Celtic next season after Friday night thriller; ICT suffer blow ahead of cup final.