The night Celtic man James McCarthy put the shackles on current Man City superstar

By David Walton

September 15, 2021

Former teammate of Celtic star James McCarthy, Steven Naismith, has been reminiscing about the time the Hoops midfielder kept current Man City star Kevin de Bruyne quiet.

McCarthy made his European debut during his time with the Toffees back in 2014. The experienced Republic of Ireland international played a role in the opener as the Merseysiders hammered home a 4-1 victory at Goodison Park.

On the pitch, that night also saw a young de Bruyne take centre stage. At 23, he was looking to rebuild his reputation with Wolfsburg after failing to succeed at Chelsea.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

And as McCarthy potentially gets set to make his debut for Celtic in European football proper, Naismith has been talking up the midfielder’s ability.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, the Scotland international said: “I’m surprised looking back now thinking that was McCarthy’s European debut. When he came into Everton he was an established Premier League player. He’d been playing for a few seasons at that level. It never seemed like he was a new player on that stage.

“James and Gareth Barry had a very good relationship in central midfield. They were the defensive cover for our attacking plays, so he was always going to feature. The manager took that European run very seriously, too, so we always put out a strong team. That night McCarthy kept De Bruyne quiet.

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“That was really the start of the resurgence of De Bruyne. It was at Wolfsburg that he started building that reputation of being a very dangerous player. I remember the gaffer, Roberto Martinez, warning us about him. But on that night he didn’t really have that much impact on the game. That was inevitably down to the two in the middle of the park.`’

Celtic man McCarthy kept Man City superstar quiet; time for him to show that form at Parkhead

Not that Celtic fans need reminding of the quality McCarthy clearly has. He’s a midfielder who’s been around the block and has more than enough experience to be able to make a success of things in Glasgow.

However, he’s now been here for over a month and has still to assert himself in the starting XI. You can see why of course given he was released by Crystal Palace in June and didn’t have a pre-season.

Celtic fans always expected it to take a bit of time for James to get up to speed. But we’re now at the stage where it’s time to start seeing why he was brought to the club in the first place.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

He made a promising impression on Saturday when he came on against Ross County. McCarthy played a vital part in the third goal and proved himself to be an attacking threat. He was one of the few making advancing runs ahead of the striker.

It’s unlikely that he’ll start tomorrow night in Betis of course. Chances are it’ll be another cameo if Ange Postecoglou deems it necessary to bring him on.

But in the coming weeks we need to start seeing more of a consistent contribution from McCarthy. He has the quality to be one of the staples of this Celtic side, here’s hoping that shows over the next month.

In other news, What Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas keeps hearing about Celtic Park

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