There’s at least one Celtic player with a smile right now, and it’s Barry Coffey.

The Irish youth international joined Cliftonville at the end of January. Out of the picture at Celtic, with a crowded midfield ahead of him, it’s a loan that made perfect sense.

As the North Belfast side continue to mount their Danske Bank Premiership challenge, Coffey has played 236 minutes [Transfermarkt], and is impressing at Solitude. After his side’s 1-0 win over Larne at the weekend, manager Paddy McLaughlin was full of praise for the 19 year old Coffey.

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He said [The Irish News]:

“All of our January signings have come in and taken the new surroundings in their stride.

“Barry Coffey came over from Celtic and he’s still finding his feet, but he’s been excellent.

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“I think after Saturday people will now sit and up and take a bit of notice and we’ll be delighted if they do because the boys deserve it. But we know we can’t control what people do or don’t say about us.”

Barry Coffey

Celtic youngsters Scott Robertson and Barry Coffey in training / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic youngster Barry Coffey energising Cliftonville

Cliftonville face Ballymena tonight, in a clash that could see the North Belfast side rise to 4th. Albeit, temporarily, as Coleraine hold two games in hand.

It’s been a case of so far, so good for Celtic youngster Barry Coffey. At just 19, he needed first-team minutes and is proving himself in a tough league. His first professional outings have been broadly successful, and he’ll give Celtic much to consider in the summer.

With a good pre-season under his belt, there’s real optimism Coffey could provide a lift to a Celtic squad in need of overhaul. Olivier Ntcham, Scott Brown and Tom Rogic are likely to leave in the summer. That leaves multiple gaps in the middle of the park.

Coffey’s biggest test will come on March 6th, as Cliftonville face Linfield. A win would be huge for confidence, a Belfast rivalry that probably doesn’t have title ramifications, but certainly local pride is at stake.

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