Celtic were forced into several changes last night, not least of which was handing Cameron Harper a debut.
The promising winger had been on the fringes at Celtic, and his debut came in less than inspiring circumstances. Forced to play up front on his own, the young American looked isolated as the Bhoys struggled.
In the 1-1 draw, Harper came off after an hour with cramp (BBC). David Turnbull’s 82nd minute free-kick heroics nearly sealed the win for the Bhoys, before Kevin Nisbet’s scrappy equaliser ensured a point for Jack Ross’ side.
It turns out that the US football press are nearly as damning as ours. In a game where not much was expected of him in Scotland, American writers laid into the USMNT U-20 international.
For the record, we thought he did alright in testing circumstances, with the club’s own stupidity meaning that Harper was thrust into the first-team.
Celtic youngster Cameron Harper faces harsh criticism
In comments that even TalkSport would decree as “a bit much”, US soccer outlets such as Fansided and Stars and Stripes FC were damning.
Fansided were disappointed:
“The Sacramento, California native’s first opportunity came in the 25th minute when Mikey Johnston slid in a pass for Harper. He elected to take a shot from a narrow-angle that went into the side netting. That was probably Celtic’s best chance of the game, but he simply didn’t make the most of it.
“Harper had another couple of chances to send a good delivery in the first half but failed on both occasions. Harper had one final chance to send in a cross in the second half but sent it out of play.
“The teenager went down with a cramp and his debut came to an end after 60 minutes, replaced by Armstrong Oko-Flex.
“It was good to see the US U-20 international as involved as he was, but his delivery and his decision making were very poor when his team needed it.”
Stars and Stripes F.C. were slightly more forgiving to the Celtic youngster:
“The top highlight came in the first half as Harper bore down on goal from the left side with the ball. He planted a shot into the side net, but gets points for going for the debut goal.
Praise is deserved for creating space in the final third on both wings, but his crosses and service were lacking. Several attempts to get the ball to an attacker in the box were well off the mark.
Generally, Harper looks like he needs more first team exposure to settle in or could benefit from taking the pitch with the first team regulars. So, he’s less a key component and more of a role player finding his footing.”
Twitter was typically divided over Celtic winger
Over on Twitter, where reasonable debate goes to die, Cameron Harper’s performance was dissected by US football fans.
Yes Celtic were missing starters but Cameron Harper’s performance wasn’t exactly inspiring #USMNT
— Scruffy Jack (@BeardedJack) January 11, 2021
Cameron Harper played 61 minutes in his senior competitive debut for Celtic today. Hoops tied Hibernian 1-1 at Celtic Park with 13 players missing due to COVID-19. #USMNT
— Larry Henry Jr (@lhenry019) January 11, 2021
— U.S. Soccer YNT (@USYNT) January 11, 2021
Cameron Harper has looked bright in this game, but his decision making in the final third has been poor.
He will improve with experience, and overall I really like what I’m seeing so far.#USMNT
— 𝕁𝔻 (@BigMacKennie) January 11, 2021
Like plenty of young players, Cameron Harper needs work on his final product. He had two times where he really should’ve sent in a better cross. #USMNT
— USMNT Brain (@UsmntB) January 11, 2021