Luca Connell loan move is ideal; but Celtic fans concerned with player's development path

By David Walton

March 18, 2021

Luca Connell and his Celtic departure today was good news for the player’s immediate development, but it definitely comes with concerns.

The Hoops announced that the young Irishman would be joining Queen’s Park for the final three months of the season on loan. He’ll be joined by youth goalkeeping prospect Ryan Mullen.

The move is great for the pair and their opportunity to get senior game-time for the final few months of the campaign. But in Connell’s case, it opens up some serious questions.

When Celtic signed the Republic of Ireland under-19 international back in 2019, he had been playing regularly for Bolton Wanderers in the Championship. In fact, he had as many as 12 appearances for them when he signed on at Parkhead [Transfermarkt].

Granted, it was never going to be an instant integration into the first-team. But fast forward two years, and Connell has simply stagnated as he gets set to turn 20 next month.

He’s watched on as the likes of Liam Hughes, Liam Morrison, and Barry Hepburn have jumped ship. With exciting prospects such as Karomoko Dembele and Armstrong Oko-Flex also seeing their contracts expire this summer with no sign of an extension, the youth squad exodus looks set to continue.

No senior experience for Luca Connell in too long; Celtic fans right to be concerned

As well as that, Connell has seen team-mates such as Jonathan Afolabi and Lee O’Connor bag loan moves. Opportunities provided to them that Luca could’ve desperately used to get more experience of the senior game.

Even when he was given an opportunity to impress the Hoops fans in friendly matches, he did so before being forgotten about. He was one of the stars of the show against Hibernian in our final pre-season friendly at Parkhead last summer.

Luca Connell (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

But when it comes to competitive action, he’s been nowhere near it. He hasn’t played a competitive senior league game in two years. And going from the English Championship to the Scottish League Two is also a red flag.

He’ll make an impact with Queen’s Park and will also get experience of fighting at the top end of the table. But it doesn’t feel right that this is where Luca is at almost two years after signing for the club.

And that’s a view many supporters have shared as they react to his Lennoxtown departure today. Here’s a look at some of the opinions going around:


In other news, this talented Celtic youngster received a big boost today to add to his new contract earlier this month.