Celtic will likely invite several Derry City hopefuls back to Lennoxtown to complete trials once the pandemic allows, Paddy McCourt has revealed.

McCourt, who made the jump from Derry to Celtic back in 2008, is currently the Technical Director at the Northern Irish club.

The Hoops have had several youngsters make the massive leap from Derry to Parkhead. As well as McCourt, the Hoops have had Niall McGinn and Michael Duffy make the switch in the past. Shane Duffy also started his career with his hometown club in Derry.

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And it appears as though there will be several others who will be hoping to be considered good enough to make the same transition McCourt once did.

Speaking on The Celtic Huddle Podcast, McCourt said: “We’ve got plenty of talent coming through the Academy at the minute. We actually had three over at Celtic in February before Lockdown came in.

“So, they did reasonably well and they’re probably going to go back once things improve. We are scouring everywhere in the area to find fresh talent.”

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Celtic have plenty of talent in the academy

There was no indication from McCourt on who the players in question are. However, regardless, it’s almost certain that they would go straight into the academy if they did manage to sign a contract.


The size of the step up from Derry to Parkhead is absolutely cataclysmic. So you would expect anyone who signs on as being viewed as a long-term prospect.

But that opens up a bigger picture when you look at the Celtic academy these days. It’s absolutely brimming with talent that simply isn’t being given an opportunity to shine. Perhaps the importance of the 10-in-a-row season is having an effect on that, but the likes of Karamoko Dembele, Ewan Henderson, and Kerr McInroy to name a few haven’t been able to make the breakthrough in recent seasons.

Paddy McCourt in action for Celtic

Paddy McCourt in action for Celtic / (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

There has to be a pathway for these talents to develop. If you look through the Celtic team, there are only three who have come through directly from the academy. James Forrest, Callum McGregor, and Mikey Johnston make up that trio. Only Kieran Tierney has made us a big profit too.

That’s a dreadful return over the last decade or so. Just look at all of the talent that has developed and been released over the years or moved on quickly to other clubs. Jack Aitchison comes to mind as one in particular who was always too good for under-20 level but didn’t ever really have a pathway to the first-team.

That has to be created in some form by the club if we’re going to really start reaping the rewards of the academy in the long-term. That means more loan spells for players at a younger age too. McInroy and Scott Robertson will undoubtedly come back better players for the experience this season, and that’s something we should be pushing for the vast majority of our top academy stars.

In any case, we at 67HH wish the Derry hopefuls all the best when their trials resume once more.

In other news, a Celtic star who continues to be overlooked has been defended by an unlikely source.

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