Michael Dawson bigs up nephew Joey's Celtic pathway

By David Walton

December 30, 2021

Former England and Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Michael Dawson has talked up nephew Joey’s big Celtic opportunity.

The Hoops signed Dawson from Scunthorpe United in the summer with the talented 19-year-old featuring regularly in the Lowland League for the B team. However, with injuries catching up with Ange Postecoglou’s side, Dawson was given his Celtic debut against St Johnstone on Sunday.

Dawson impressed supporters as he showed strong hold-up play and even came close to his first senior goal for the club in the second half. The Englishman’s movement was particularly impressive and he was clearly keen to get stuck in and make the most of his big opportunity.

Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

For now, it looks as though Dawson will need to settle for life back with the B team until his next opportunity arises. But after doing all he could on his debut, he clearly left his uncle Michael delighted.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, the ex-Spurs man said: “It was amazing for him just to be on the bench. To then get chucked on so early in the game and have such an opportunity to make an impression was fantastic. I was so proud when Jeff [Stelling] said on air that Joey had come on for Celtic.

“I’d advised Jeff in the morning before the programme started that there was a chance of it. This will give Joey great belief. He was gutted to be denied a first goal late on. Every player needs a break, or something to go for them, when they are trying to make it in football and the circumstances at Celtic helped Joey.

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“But then, once you get the nod, you really need to make the most of it — and I thought he did well. Celtic winning also made it the perfect debut. My only disappointment for him was not to have the Celtic fans there. He now knows there is a pathway for him at Celtic. He’s made a big step and now the challenge for him is to make sure he stays in and around it.”

Joey Dawson showed enough to suggest further Celtic opportunities will arise

It’s important to be realistic about your goals, whether it’s the player himself or supporters’ expectations of that player. When it comes to Joey, all he could’ve achieved on Sunday was to simply make an impression.

Sure, it would’ve been the perfect afternoon for him if he could’ve lifted his finish beyond Elliot Parish in the second half. But it doesn’t overly matter, he did what he set out to do. The Celtic supporters were talking positively about him post-match, that was always the main goal.

Of course, the obvious obstacle now awaits him – the wait for his next opportunity. A title run-in isn’t necessarily the opportune moment to blood youngsters in. With Giorgos Giakoumakis still looking to make an impact and Daizen Maeda likely to arrive in the door, chances will be limited between now and the end of the season.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Dawson’s sole focus at the moment should be the adding to of his goal haul with the B team. Doing so between now and the end of the season will only boost Dawson’s stock heading into the summer.

But it’s important to be realistic as mentioned previously. Dawson still has a long way to go before he’s an out-and-out first-team striker at Celtic Park. With so much competition, patience is going to be key for the former Scunthorpe talent.

But the raw attributes are clearly there. Dawson showed power, technique, and decent game intelligence. Now it’s important he plays the long game and continues to develop with the B side.

In other news, Celtic star yet to feature under Ange could make first appearance next month