Owen Moffat and the Celtic Academy landmark reached this season
When Celtic brought Owen Moffat into the action against Ross County last night, the B Team star became the 7th player from the Celtic Academy to play for the Hoops in the league this season.
And, factoring in all competitions, the number’s even higher.
Callum McGregor, the captain, is a former Academy talent, of course. Ditto Anthony Ralston, who scored the all-important winner last night. Factor in James Forrest and Mikey Johnston. Then there’s Stephen Welsh and Adam Montgomery, who have impressed in spells this season.
Moffat joining them made it 7 in the league. In the Europa League, Ewan Henderson has featured briefly but to great effect, while Dane Murray featured in the Champions League qualifiers.
It’s a pretty healthy scenario for the Celtic squad. In the past, it looked like the progress of Academy players had stalled, barring any first-team crises.
Last season was encouraging in some aspects though. We saw fleeting appearances from Karamoko Dembelé, who will surely feature this season after injury. Conor Hazard was a Cup Final hero, while Armstrong Okoflex and Cameron Harper took part in a draw against Hibs, after a raft of Covid disruptions.
It looks as if, at last, there’s sufficient talent from the Academy to bolster the ranks in the first team. Owen Moffat could’ve been seen as something of an outlier a few years back.
Last night, he was part of a growing trend, instead.
More involvement for Celtic Academy talents seems inevitable
At the risk of repeating myself, Karamoko Dembelé will surely be a part of things this season. Elsewhere, the B Team is full of talent that could spring a surprise or two in the remainder of the 21-22 campaign.
There’s some justified hype about the likes of Adam Brooks, Tobi Oluwayemi, Rocco Vata and Ben Wylie, amongst others. B Team captain Bosun Lawal, last season’s Watford Academy Player of the Year [The42], is progressing nicely, too.
There’s some real optimism here. Again, Moffat doesn’t seem like an outlier whatsoever. The Celtic Academy now accounts for a not unreasonable chunk of our squad.
Admittedly, there have been some extreme circumstances. Dane Murray, for example, was thrown in against FC Midtjylland, Moffat was called up amidst a number of injuries to forwards. These kinds of things happen.
But to see this as circumstantial is missing the point entirely. Ange has said before that he wants to prioritise youth development going forward.
It was nice to see Owen Moffat get his chance. He looked lively, and it was the intense kind of game he’d have wanted to be involved in.
Now he’s tasted victory in the Celtic first team, he’ll be after more. And so will a significant number of his colleagues from the Academy set up.