Ali McCann discusses future after 2020 Celtic scouting mission

By David Walton

April 25, 2021

St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann has stated that he isn’t thinking of leaving anytime soon despite Celtic’s reported scouting trip in 2020.

According to the Courier, the Hoops sent Tosh McKinlay to run the rule over the Northern Irishman back in November. This comes after another impressive season for McCann in which he’s racked up 39 first-team outings and began making his mark with his country [Transfermarkt].

McCann made his Northern Ireland debut under Ian Baraclough the same month he was scouted by the Hoops. He also played 108 minutes against Italy and USA combined last month.

However, despite the increased spotlight and heightened profile, McCann is only focusing on staying in Perth and bagging more senior minutes.

As quoted by the Herald, the midfielder said: “You can always improve and there are always ways you can get better. The more games I play here the more I am progressing, so that’s all I’m thinking about at the moment.

“I’m not really interested in anything else at the minute, I’m just focused on the games we have coming up. It is great to be in and around the club at the moment, winning the cup and getting into the top six. We have a young team, we are doing well and the lads are a great unit. I would like to score more goals and hopefully that will come as time goes on.

“I want to get more chances and put them away – I want to play every game because I feel fine and it’s getting to the end of the season.”

Ali McCann will need to make a decision soon

McCann is getting to a period in his career where he’ll need to make a decision. He’s proven he’s good enough to spread his wings further than McDiarmid Park, and he’ll undoubtedly have offers when he feels it’s time to move on.

After coming up through the Saints’ under-20 side, he’s now had two years of regular first-team football. He’s racked up over 80 appearances for the Perthshire side, and is showing he’s ready for the next step.

Granted, Celtic Park could be too big a leap for now. The midfield picture is currently crowded, and that’s without the new manager even making a new signing in the position. Even with Scott Brown’s departure this summer, Celtic still have around six other contenders who could take his place. With Liam Shaw coming in from Sheffield Wednesday, it would be difficult to see the value in snapping up McCann just now.

Ali McCann up against Celtic captain Scott Brown (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

And that goes both ways. Wherever McCann goes, he has to see a pathway into the first team. A chance to get regular minutes with a bigger side before long. At Celtic, it’s tricky to see where that pathway is. Especially with the competition he would have ahead of him.

There are of course no reports as of yet of Celtic following up their 2020 scouting mission. Nothing came to fruition in January, and with a new footballing regime in place for next season, it could be likely that any interest in McCann drops.

But for the player himself, he’s getting to a stage where it’s time to make a decision. For now, he doesn’t have his eyes anywhere other than McDiarmid Park.