Darren O'Dea praises 5 Celtic youngsters who stepped up amidst B team injuries

By Sam Preston

February 9, 2023

Darren O’Dea has namechecked and paid tribute to five Celtic prospects after the B Team lost 2-1 to the University of Stirling.

The Republic of Irishman said he had nine injuries to contend with last night, and that meant throwing some younger players into the mix.

As is always liable to happen with young prospects, that meant the result did not go Celtic’s way but he picked out some of them for praise.

TA’ QALI, MALTA – 19 OCTOBER 2022 Scotlands Josh Dede during the UEFA European Under-17 Championship 2023 Qualifying round match between Scotland and Malta at the Centenary Stadium, Ta’ Qali, Malta on 19 October 2022 (Photo by Domenic Aquilina/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

O’Dea namechecks five players after Stirling loss

Speaking to the club’s official website, O’Dea said that the younger members of the group had as much impact as anyone despite the defeat.

O’Dea said: “I have mixed emotions. We are missing nine players with injuries. They have all put in so much that they’ve started to pick up little niggles, but the young lads that came in were excellent and showed real personality.

“At this club, if you don’t perform, you’ll move to the side and someone else will come in. The younger lads showed last night that they’re ready to go. They’ve trained with us a lot as we want them to be near our environment and understand what’s required.

“Josh Dede has been with us all season although not played too much, and Magnus Mackenzie is the same. Now we’ve started to bring in Daniel Cummings, Kyle Ure and Francis Turley. These boys are first-year professionals, and they impacted the game more than anyone.”

Next up for the B Team is another Lowland League match against Bo’ness United and O’Dea also referenced the challenge that game will pose.

He said it will be even tougher than last night’s game, which is a test for the young players to show the consistency which is needed.

They will be looking to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, but at this level, the performance is often just as important as the result.

In other news, Stefan Johansen left unsurprised by Matt O’Riley’s strong impact at Celtic.