Celtic boss' important message to Lennoxtown youngsters that went under the radar yesterday

By David Walton

March 2, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou yesterday dished out an important message to the Lennoxtown youngsters that’s barely been spoken about.

The Hoops boss has shown a strong desire to give youngsters their opportunity in his first-team squad at varying stage of the season. Dane Murray, for example, was thrown in for Celtic’s European qualifiers in pre-season. Owen Moffat, meanwhile, has made 3 substitute appearances for the senior side.

Joey Dawson made his debut in December, whilst Ben Doak was another who was given an incredible substitute opportunity against Rangers when we were 3-0 up last month. The opportunities are clearly there for the brightest young talents to make an impression at first-team level.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

However, when asked about future opportunities for Doak and Karamoko Dembele, Postecoglou stated that future chances will only be available for those clearly committed to the club.

Speaking via Celtic TV, Ange said: “With him and Ben they’re in a similar boat, it’s also about their futures and where they see their futures. I’ve said all along that for me, this football club is everything that a young player should want. Particularly at the moment. I really want to bring young players into our first-team and give them an opportunity as we have already.

“But they’ve got to be invested in our football club. They’ve got to want to be here and they’ve got to want to be here long-term. If they see their futures elsewhere or they’re not certain then I have total respect for that and everyone has the right to make their own decisions, but I’m going to invest time and opportunity into the people who want to stay at our football club.

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“Whether they’re young guys or old guys, they’ve got to want to be here and they’ve got to want to see their future here for me to give them the opportunity.”

Ange Postecoglou takes firm but fair stance on Celtic opportunities

When it comes to young players, it’s important they’re given time and space to make decisions on their long-term futures. It’s vital that they don’t feel pushed into making a decision that isn’t in their best interests.

Dembele and Doak appear to be in that particular situation as their contracts trickle down. Both of the teenagers’ respective deals expire in the summer. Both are hugely exciting talents and perhaps the 2 who are closest to breaking into the first-team in the coming months and years.

Unfortunately, however, the vultures look like swooping. Doak, for example, has been linked with a big move to Liverpool [Glasgow Times]. Dembele, meanwhile, was linked with the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal last year [Scottish Sun].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ange will allow all of his youngsters the time needed to make decisions on their long-term futures. However, until they show total 100% commitment to the club, they don’t look like getting chances in the senior side. And that’s quite right too, especially when that opportunity could be going to another player who wants to stay at Parkhead.

Ange needs to manage this situation appropriately. You can tell from his comments above that he’s anything but invasive when it comes to contract talks. He’ll pitch to everyone how big Celtic can be for their careers and the exciting roles they could play under him. But he won’t be down begging on his knees for anyone to stay, regardless of their levels of potential.

Hopefully, we get to keep all of our top young starlets. Especially considering there’s a real emergence of talent breaking through at Lennoxtown just now.

In other news, “If people expect 61 perfect performances…”; Ange launches big defence of his Celtic team