Former Celtic Academy star Stuart Findlay earned his maiden Scotland cap on Sunday – and marked it by netting his first international goal.
The 24-year-old, who spent seven years at Celtic between 2009 and 2016, scored the fifth goal in Scotland’s 6-0 win over minnows San Marino. Findlay met a Ryan Christie corner at a sparse Hampden on what must have been a memorable evening in a rapidly progressing football career.
The central-defender has found a home at Kilmarnock in recent years so it was little coincidence that he repaid former Killie boss Steve Clarke on his international debut.
Findlay could make more Scotland appearances
The opposition may not have been the most glamorous but that’s unlikely to have dampened Findlay’s mood too much and he must now be hunting down more international opportunities.
Scotland aren’t exactly blessed for central-defensive options at present with the likes of John Souttar and Scott McKenna currently going through injuries and dips in form. Fellow defenders like Charlie Mulgrew and Christophe Berra are reaching the twilight of their career so it may be the likes of Findlay and Hibernian’s Ryan Porteous who form the making of the defence for the coming years.
Findlay’s rise is just another example of the good work the Celtic Academy do going unnoticed. It’s alright for the likes of Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor and James Forrest to steal all of the attention after making the breakthrough to the Hoops first-team.
However, the emergence of players like Findlay show that the Academy does great work for a lot of other Scottish clubs. Kilmarnock have undoubtedly improved Findlay as a player but Celtic put the foundations in for his rise.
And at the moment it looks like that rise may continue for a bit yet.