Celtic man Luca Connell's first interview after signing for Queen's Park; "grateful" just to play again

By David Walton

March 22, 2021

Celtic youngster Luca Connell has had his first interview after signing for Queen’s Park as he expressed how “grateful” he is to finally be back playing senior football.

Connell was signed for the Hoops from Bolton Wanderers back in the summer of 2019. It looked as though he was going to be fighting for a spot at Parkhead in the near-future after signing. However, fast forward nearly two years and he still hasn’t been given a single competitive appearance.

Connell finalised a loan move to Queen’s Park for the final few months of the season last week. He would go on to mark his debut with an assist and a man-of-the-match award too. More importantly, it was his first 74 minutes of senior action in 23 months. Connell hadn’t played a senior competitive match since a 2-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers back in April 2019.

He spoke to Queen’s Park in his first interview with the club’s media team, and expressed how gracious he is just to be back playing in the men’s ranks again:

“I haven’t played a while”

“I was happy with the game and the way the lads played. But I think more it was a lot of time out for the lads and I haven’t played a while myself. So it was good to get the three points in the end and extend the lead at the top.

“It was down to us at half-time. We had a lot to do going into it (the second half), but I think we just needed to stay calm, patient, keep the ball, and we knew the goals would come.

“That’s why I’m grateful. I’m grateful just to get the chance to play again. It’s been a while for myself so I’m just happy to be out there playing again. I think the lads just all want to play. We’ve had a while off and stuff so we just want to play as much as we can. So Saturday-Tuesday suits us. We’re a strong fit team so I think it’s good going into the tough schedule.”

Senior minutes trumps anything at youth level; but Bolton to Queen’s Park is a concerning drop

Connell’s comments here back up the theory that anything at senior level is better for development than youth-team games. Even if you’re at a club with the impeccable facilities that Celtic boast.

But you can sense Connell’s frustration here. When he signed from Bolton, this won’t have been the career progression he would’ve been pitched. Can you imagine the conversation with Neil Lennon if this was the plan?

“Right Luca, I know you’re playing every week in the Championship down in England, but we can offer you nearly two years with the development side then a few months at Queen’s Park in Scottish football’s bottom tier”. Somehow i couldn’t have seen him jumping up the road to sign in an instant.

Celtic youngster Luca Connell at former club Bolton / (Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

This is a concern supporters have already raised. It’s difficult to know what the plan is for Connell. It’s not as if he signed as a 16-year-old and has only just turned into an adult. The midfielder will be 20 next month and his time for regular minutes at senior level will have to come somewhere.

It seemed bizarre that Celtic kept a hold of him this season only to give him zero minutes. A loan move last summer would’ve been the right move for him. Considering how grateful he is to Queen’s Park for the move and his insistence on highlighting how long he’s been out the senior game, you can see he’s frustrated by how things have went recently.

Hopefully, this provides him with a springboard to further opportunities in the summer. League Two is beneath him.

In other news, a report has highlighted a potential contracted issue with one Celtic managerial candidate.