Celtic's welcome Rocco Vata boost that went under the radar

By John McGinley

March 20, 2023

Celtic prospect Rocco Vata has returned to fitness following a two-month absence with an ankle injury – featuring for the B side in the Scottish Lowland Football League on Friday night.

With so much going on for Ange Postecoglou’s side at the moment, Vata’s inclusion in the starting line-up was lowkey and may not have been noticed by many supporters – but it’s great news to see him back on the pitch.

Vata was sidelined in a Premier League International Cup clash away to Wolves back in January, a match he scored twice in to help the Bhoys earn a 4-2 victory. But now he’s ready to star for club and country again.

Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images

Vata set for run of games after injury return

Having gotten a good hour under his belt in the 1-1 draw with Spartans, Vata will now be heading off to represent the Republic of Ireland at U19 level. They play in the Elite Round of qualification for this summer’s European Championship, with games against Slovakia, Estonia and Greece on the docket. Still just 17, the attacker has already earned two caps for himself at that level having excelled at young age groups.

Vata is a player attracting attention on his rise through the Celtic Academy. You’ll remember he has even made his senior debut for Ange Postecoglou’s side, getting minutes off the bench in a match away to Hibernian at Easter Road.

He was also included on squad trips to Austria, Australia and Portugal over the last 12 months with the Celtic boss clearly nudging him towards more and more senior squad exposure.

The youngster is now one of a number regularly training with the first team, a group that also includes Bosun Lawal and Ben Summers, both of whom have also been included in match squads.

There’s a chance after the international break for Vata to again assert himself as part of Postecoglou’s plans and make more appearances between now and the end of the season – especially if we manage to win the league with games to spare.

In other news, Report: Top-flight side demand SFA summit on refereeing, Celtic set to take part.