Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh has stated that he’s aiming for first-team football this season.

The defender doesn’t necessarily mean at Celtic either – he has his sets sight on some top-team experience elsewhere if he can’t make the breakthrough this term.

Welsh was part of the young Celtic side that won the Glasgow Cup against Rangers at Parkhead back in April. He’s been a part of Tommy McIntyre’s development team in recent times. However, this summer, he was granted a big opportunity when he was given a spot on the pre-season tour of Austria and Switzerland.

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Tommy McIntyre has been helping to develop Stephen Welsh (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Now, Welsh is back and ready to taste more first-team action. Speaking in the Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 5, Page 37), he outlined his goals for the campaign ahead.

“First-team football. Whether that’s here or if I’m required to go out on loan, that’s also fine. But first-team football is my main priority.

“That’d be a great step up for me. We’re now back playing competitive football again, so it’s nice to have something to focus on. We can transfer all that hard work from pre-season and everything we’ve learned during that time into competitive football.

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“We’re playing against experienced teams. It’s very physical and that’s why we’re all here. These games are always good tests.”

Celtic’s loan success could work on Stephen Welsh

It’s hardly likely that Welsh moves on to an Aberdeen or Kilmarnock this season. But he can still look at the likes of Ryan Christie, Kristoffer Ajer, and Callum McGregor with real admiration.

None in the trio good enough for Celtic when they were younger and less experienced. But a year or two of responsibility at first-team level helped push them up to that level of quality.

Ryan Christie’s Aberdeen spell did wonders for him (Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Welsh impressed in his pre-season outings against Pinkafeld and Wiener Sportclub too. But since the serious action of the Champions League qualifiers and domestic action began, he hasn’t had a look-in.

Despite his success with the development side, he’s another who needs to prove himself elsewhere. The defence at Parkhead is locked down tight with Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic occupying the starting spots. There is also Nir Bitton and new Bhoy Christopher Jullien waiting too.

Neil Lennon will be keeping an eye on the youth academy this season (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

If he gets an offer for his services that Celtic deem suitable, he has to snap the hand off. And credit to him for his desire to do just that if one comes along. It’s exactly what we should be pushing for many of our youngsters in the development side.

Let’s see how this one plays out, but Welsh remains a highly-rated talent at Celtic Park.

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