Ralston resurgence praised by former Celtic youngster who drove him to training

By Euan Davidson

October 23, 2021

Jamie McCart, former Celtic youngster and son of Academy head Chris McCart, says Anthony Ralston didn’t chip in for petrol in their youth team days.

Regardless, the St Johnstone man has praised the Celtic right-back for his resurgence in the Bhoys first-team. Ralston, himself a former St Johnstone loanee, struggled to make the breakthrough at Parkhead.

Now, though, he’s an important player for manager Ange Postecoglou. Having bought into the Greek-Aussie manager’s use of inverted wingers, Ralston has learnt and adapted quickly.

With McCart facing his former youth team colleague today, he told the Courier:

“He was out of the team for a while and he had a tough time of it. But I’m delighted to see him back in and doing so well. He’s a really nice guy and a good professional and it’s good to see him doing so well.

“I didn’t play for Celtic but the most important thing is resilience because you’ve got a massive fan base and a lot of eyes on you. It’s really good for him, sometimes you just need that opportunity and he got it when the new manager came in.

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“Tony and I would car share into Celtic training all the time. [Ralston] hadn’t passed his driving test so I was driving him.

“He’d be annoyed because I’d pick him up early to do the gym!

“He lives close to me so him paying fuel wasn’t an issue. Tony was unpredictable with his timing but we were never that late.”

Ralston will probably be able to pay McCart back with a new deal at Celtic

It’s likely that, with less than a year on an extended deal at Celtic, Ralston will be offered improved terms to stay at the club.

And while McCart isn’t complaining about the petrol issue, come on mate. If he gets a new, bigger contract, Ralston really ought to be sending his former teammate a cheque.

Car issues aside, this is abundant and wholesome praise. Given the history and friendship between the players, it’s surely something Ralston will appreciate.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The 22-year-old was nowhere near the first-team just months ago. Now, he’s consistently impressive for Celtic, another Academy graduate who – at long last – has made the breakthrough he always wanted.

With Josip Juranovic set to make a comeback, it’ll be interesting to see how Ange Postecoglou configures his defence. Ralston, on current form, doesn’t deserve to be dropped. But Juranovic is a quality player, and though he can play on the left, he’s naturally a right-back.

It’s certainly good to have options. And for sure, Celtic have saved millions by giving a former Academy player an opportunity in the first team. It’s something that Ralston has grabbed with both hands.

Maybe after the game, Ralston could give McCart a lift into town. It seems the least he could do, really.

Read more: Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton on what he’s seen from Giorgos Giakoumakis