Massive changes coming for young Celtic players; Lennoxtown coach explains benefits

By John McGinley

June 17, 2021

Chris McCart, head of the Celtic youth academy, has been explaining the benefits of young players experiencing matches in the Scottish Lowland Football League.

A Celtic colt team will take part in the league this season, competing against sides such as BSC Glasgow, East Kilbride and Bonnyrigg Rose.

The current arrangement is for one year only but the hope will be it can serve as a pilot for the inclusion of colt teams at a higher level within the SPFL.

It’s a massive change to the existing situation for the young Celtic players who, at a certain age, currently have no formal match programme to utilise right now.

Although the club have been using outgoing loans in a big way over the last couple of seasons, forging a team unit with competitive matches could be a real improvement.

McCart is certainly optimistic.

Speaking to the official Celtic YouTube channel, he said: “I think throughout academy life you have a very strong games programme up until about 17 years of age. Then there’s this gap, a void, to the first team. We’ve been fortunate to use the loan system there to get players experience. But there’s never been a strong games programme. We’ve been at the forefront to try and establish it in Scottish football.

“For the young players in Scotland, they need a programme that tests them. We’re very grateful to the Lowland League clubs. It’s one we’re excited about. There will be a good challenge for young players.

“We’ll go with predominately a younger side than we would have previously expected but the experience of going to different grounds, competing for three points, playing a game on a Saturday and that preparation through the week, the league table. It’s something the club have been striving for.

“That’s the type of experience we want to give young players. You need to get them ready for when they do get that first-team opportunity. It gives them every chance. We’re hoping to grow and develop these young players. We want to create interest in this team.”

Celtic fans could have the opportunity to show support for young players

If pandemic protocols allow, there could even be the chance of fans getting along to matches and showing their support for the young Bhoys. Creating that bond with our young talents could also help them develop the mentality to succeed in a pressurised first-team environment.

It’s set to be a huge year for the young Celtic players / (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

It’s certainly going to be an interesting experience for them all. As mentioned, the new endeavour is only due to be in place for a year, but given the push from Celtic and Rangers, it’s clearly seen as the next big step for our young players to succeed and reach the first-team.

I’m looking forward to it all and we’ll be providing as much coverage as possible here on 67 Hail Hail.

The league is scheduled to kick off in mid-July.

In other news, Ally McCoist wants Steve Clarke to bring Celtic star in from the cold vs England.