Morton boss hits out at Celtic for not using Parkhead for B team games

By David Walton

September 7, 2021

Greenock Morton manager Gus MacPherson believes Celtic should be using Parkhead to host certain B team matches to aid the youngsters’ development.

Tommy McIntyre’s side came up against the Championship side in the Challenge Cup on Saturday. The young Hoops came up short in a 3-1 defeat against their experienced visitors.

The game was played at Airdrieonians’ Penny Cars Stadium. This is the same venue Celtic B have been playing at for their Lowland League home games too.

Photo by Ross MacDonald – SNS GroupSNS Group via Getty Images

Celtic Park has hosted the likes of the Glasgow Cup final in recent years. However, the B team haven’t been given the chance to play at the famous venue this season. And Morton boss MacPherson has hit out at the Hoops for the decision.

As quoted by the Greenock Telegraph, MacPherson said: “I’m not a big fan of the whole system, but you’ve got to play the games. I actually feel sorry for the Celtic kids because part of the players’ development is playing at their stadium, but instead we’ve played here at Airdrie on a questionable surface. The game should’ve been played at Parkhead.

“There was nothing on at Parkhead this weekend, so there was no reason for us not to be able to play there. I do get it – with the fixture scheduling and things like that – they have to protect the park. But at this stage of the year there’s still growth. They’d have enjoyed the opportunity to play there as well.

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“I’ve signed boys from Celtic who haven’t played at the stadium and that was disappointing when the draw was made because our youngsters didn’t get that chance either.”

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Celtic B team could do with more Parkhead opportunities

People will fall on either side of the fence on this one. On one side you’ll have those that believe similarly to MacPherson. That your top young talent should consistently be playing at the first-team’s stadium in order to progress their development further.

After all, playing there regularly would take the intimidation factor away when they eventually make their senior side debuts. They wouldn’t be as overawed with the venue because they’ll have gotten highly used to it.

Then there will be the other side. Those that feel playing at the senior team’s ground should be considered an honour. Something to strive towards and to use as motivation. That it’s not a stadium to be used as a playground for youth players who haven’t yet made it.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In truth, there needs to be a balance. It would be ideal if Celtic were able to provide their best youth players with more opportunities to play at Parkhead. After all, it’s still going to be a totally different experience for them when they’re there with the first-team. There would be nothing wrong with giving them a taste of the ground from time to time.

Another factor that should dictate its usage should be the quality of ground they’re currently playing on. MacPherson says that Airdrie’s ground was “questionable” in terms of quality. If the B team are playing on a surface that isn’t conducive to quick, passing football, then that helps nobody.

But for now, we need to back the Hoops in their decision-making at youth level. We’ll be judged in the end on how many players come through to make an impact under Ange Postecoglou. Let’s see how beneficial Lowland League fixtures in Airdrie are for the B players first and foremost.

In other news, Jota discusses potential Celtic availability for Ross County

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