John Kennedy bigs up Ali McCann amid recent Celtic speculation

By David Walton

May 11, 2021

St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann has been given a promising appraisal from Celtic manager John Kennedy amid recent speculation.

The Sunday Post reported over the weekend that Celtic were taking a look at McCann closely during their 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final win against St Mirren [print edition, 09/05, back page].

This comes after Tosh McKinlay was reportedly sent by Celtic to watch McCann back in November during a game against Motherwell [The Courier]. It’s clear that Celtic are keeping a strong eye on the Northern Ireland international ahead of next season.

And it’s fair to say Kennedy didn’t do much to cool the talk today either. Speaking at his pre-match press conference for tomorrow’s game vs St Johnstone via Celtic TV, our interim boss was happy to big McCann’s talents up.

“I’ve obviously watched him when we’ve played them and from afar. I think he’s an impressive young player who’s improved with the exposure to first-team football. One thing for Celtic is we always have to keep our eye on the best young talents in Scotland – that’s the first point in terms of who you’d want to scout.

“If there are good young players in Scotland then you want to make sure you know about them. He’s obviously one we know well of, but again there are no decisions over squads and everything else.

“He’s certainly a good talented young player, and again it’s good for Scottish football having good young players like that coming through.”

Celtic clearly eyeing Ali McCann up – a potential recommendation for the new boss?

Kennedy could’ve easily poured cold water on the speculation that Celtic are keeping tabs on him. He does anything but here, and instead actually found himself fueling the fire.

If truth be told, this comes across as if Celtic have been watching him closely and like what they see. A massive boost for the St Johnstone youngster ahead of tomorrow night’s game at Parkhead.

Of course, as should be the case with any new signing from here on in, it’ll be down to the new manager. Kennedy was quick to remind everyone that no decisions have been made regarding the squad for next season. Therefore, any move for McCann still looks some way away.

Ali McCann up against Celtic captain Scott Brown (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

But if Celtic like what you see, you have to believe that this will be something that’s put forward to the new boss. A potential recommendation should he be looking to sign in McCann’s midfield position.

Tomorrow, McCann will have the chance to prove to Celtic further what he’s capable of. He’ll likely line up against the likes of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor. That’s quite the acid test. However, if he comes through it with flying colours, he won’t do his summer transfer chances any harm.

It should give him some extra motivation for the game. Kennedy’s comments certainly weren’t aimed at playing down the reports.

In other news, Kennedy today addressed when Leigh Griffiths’ Celtic future will be discussed.