Experienced manager urges Celtic to sign up Ireland's top talents

By David Walton

January 4, 2022

Northern Ireland women manager Kenny Shiels has urged Celtic to come calling for the top talents in his country as well as the Republic of Ireland.

The Hoops signed Liam Scales in the summer from Shamrock Rovers in a move that looks like being a shrewd addition. Celtic have also been linked with Johnny Kenny in recent days, with that one expected to be completed this week [Irish Independent].

However, the Hoops have also been linked with talents in Northern Ireland too. Linfield’s Trai Hume was one of the names mentioned in the summer [Belfast Live].

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

And Shiels believes Ange Postecoglou’s style of play would suit many players in his homeland.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Shiels said: “Celtic or Rangers would win the League of Ireland, but the football being played in Ireland is a much more modern type of game than any of the other Scottish clubs play. Liam Scales has done well in the games he’s had at Celtic but Aaron McEneff at Hearts, for instance, could walk into that Celtic team and not feel out of place – but he would struggle to play for the likes of Ross County.

“I had Aaron at Derry City and he receives it off the back four and is very inventive. He’s a boy who, like Liam Scales, should be playing for one of the big clubs. He could play alongside him quite easily because he’s a footballer. I know a lot of clubs are now looking over here and I’m not surprised because these players can come in and play. Celtic and Rangers should be looking there and thinking: ‘he can fit in with the way we play.’

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“He [Postecoglou] has good players and his style would suit many of the players over here.”

Celtic showing more faith in Irish talent

If the move comes off for Kenny, that’ll be 2 players from the League of Ireland having made the move to Celtic within 2 different windows. That shows an increasing level of trust from the Hoops in the Irish talent pool.

Of course, it’s important to recognise the step-up involved in any move. It doesn’t many whether they come from Northern Ireland or the Republic – it’s a monumental jump. The fact Scales still isn’t anywhere near Celtic’s first-choice left-back shows that to be the case.

Sure, you can turn around and say that it’s all about giving players an opportunity. After all, Scales has shown himself up fairly well when he’s been handed a chance. But it’s still a meteoric gap between starring in Ireland and being a first-choice Celtic player.

Photo By Ben McShane/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Kenny will find that out if he signs for the club in the coming days too. It’s a long-term process for these players. They need time and patience to get to grips with the Scottish Premiership and be allowed to adapt at a suitable pace.

There have certainly been more transfer stories linking Celtic with Irish talent in the second half of 2021 than there has been in recent years. So that shows that it’s a marker Ange is happy for the club to dip into.

But it needs to be for the right player. There’s no point signing up young talents just because they’re Irish and have potential. They need to have the right mentality and have a skillset the club finds productive in the long-term. Hopefully, the signing of Scales is an indication that the club is ready to invest more in Irish talents.

In other news, Rival supporters’ paranoia shows their fear of Celtic remains sky-high