Irish club boss talks up "magnificent" Johnny Kenny after he signs for Celtic

By David Walton

January 9, 2022

Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley has highlighted Johnny Kenny’s rise after the player signed for Celtic yesterday.

The Hoops have tied the young Irish talent down on a five-year contract in a massive step-up for the striker. It’s been reported that Celtic have splashed out €150k [£125k] to complete the deal, with add-ons involving a 10%-15% sell-on fee attached [Irish Independent].

Kenny joins after having a breakthrough debut season at senior level in the League of Ireland. Ending the campaign with 11 goals, the 18-year-old quickly became a fan-favourite and appears to be one of the long-term at Parkhead.

Photo By Ben McShane/Sportsfile via Getty Images

And the impact he made on his former club last term is clear. Speaking in his club’s official announcement confirming Kenny’s departure, Sligo boss Buckley couldn’t speak highly enough of him:

“Johnny has been magnificent for Sligo Rovers. At a very young age he showed all the attributes to make a successful career in the game and he can take great pride in what he has already achieved in these very early days.

“It was clear a move would occur at some point and as it comes now, all of our staff, players and coaches wish him the very best. He retains our support whenever needed.

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“The focus on first-team squad investment has not been altered. We have over 20 players under contract as pre-season begins and finishing off the squad is the priority of all. We will speak more on this in time. For now we congratulate Johnny and look forward to preparing for the 2022 season.”

Johnny Kenny appears to be a long-term project for Celtic

There’s clearly high potential in Kenny. For him to make such a commanding impact in his first senior campaign with Sligo is mightily impressive. You can see by the reaction of the club’s supporters just how well regarded he is.

It’s easy to forget, but Kenny is 5 years younger than Liam Scales who arrived in the summer from Shamrock. We would all admit that Scales still needs time to get to the level necessary. So it’s going to be a long road ahead for Kenny, and it’ll be interesting to see where that takes him.

There was talk before his signing that he could be loaned out immediately [Irish Independent]. However, as of yet there has been no update on that. If he does stay, expect him to be sent down to the B side to tackle some Lowland League football in the early stages.

Photo By Ben McShane/Sportsfile via Getty Images

As it stands, Celtic now have a host of options in the centre-forward position. Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Giorgos Giakoumakis, and Albian Ajeti all join Kenny in the armoury. Considering Ange often plays with one centre-forward, he certainly has to show his man-management skills.

Not that Kenny will be expecting an immediate introduction into first-team life. Remember, we still have Joey Dawson there too, who impressed on his first-team debut against St Johnstone a fortnight ago.

There’s quality both in the senior side and in the youth ranks when it comes to the centre-forward area. Here’s hoping we reap the rewards of both in the short and long-term.

In other news, Report: Riley McGree to Celtic fee details; add-ons included