Who are the mystery Celtic prospects Lennon is encouraged by?

By Euan Davidson

February 20, 2021

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is being Mr Cryptic this week.

The troubled Hoops boss was reticent to identify his “mitigating circumstances” for Celtic’s difficulties. Additionally, he didn’t want to name names when talking about exciting youth prospects training with the first-team [YouTube].

Lennon had said:

“Yeah, we’ve got a couple of good young players underneath here training with us currently. They are coming along very nicely, indeed. We are really pleased with their progress so far.”

But who is he talking about? Let’s do some in-depth, investigative work. Or, throw some names at a wall, depending on your point of view.

Luca Connell: in Celtic training / (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Luca Connell

We are fans of Luca Connell, here. Or, more to the point, Luca Connell’s potential. Because unless you saw the Irishman in friendlies or for Bolton, there isn’t much to base any excitement.

Connell has, though, been training with the first-team over recent months. He was nearly thrown in for Celtic’s dismal 1-1 post-Dubai draw with Hibs. However, with Callum McGregor and Ismaila Soro fit and available, no dice.

The calls to rest Callum McGregor are increasing in volume. Both myself and Frank McAvennie are in agreement that the stalwart and co-captain could use a breather before the end of the season and the Euros. That opens a slot for the ex-Bolton midfielder, who is surely aching for first-team minutes.

Fine: there aren’t any pictures of Owen Moffat on Getty. So here’s a hockey player with the same surname / (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Owen Moffat

Hear me out: apart from Odsonne Edouard, have any of our strikers had a particularly good season?

Alright, there have been fits and bursts between Ajeti and Griffiths. Klimala doesn’t seem to be particularly popular with the coaching staff, though. The pecking order beneath Edouard doesn’t look entirely promising. So, will Academy player Owen Moffat get the nod some time soon?

Moffat signed a new contract with Celtic relatively recently [Celtic FC], so it stands to reason that he’ll get more opportunities at some point. There’s precedent here; Tony Watt, Jack Aitchison and the like were given run-outs towards the ends of league campaigns. Granted, the scenario is quite different, provided Rangers don’t fall apart, so there’s a less triumphant context.

But you have to imagine the Academy man will get his start some time soon.

Armstrong Okoflex in action (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Armstrong Okoflex: Will Celtic boss Lennon show faith again?

At the risk of sounding like Jerry Seinfeld, what’s the deal with Armstrong Okoflex?

The Irish youth international was hyped up for big things. Along with Karamoko Dembélé, he’d been lighting it up at youth level, making an impression with his technique, goalscoring and overall play.

He seemed for all the world like the kind of player to get supporters out of their seats. In two cameo appearances in the league this season, he’s not had an opportunity to do that [Transfermarkt]. Granted, there are no supporters to excite at Celtic Park this season. That’s just semantics.

However, Okoflex can sometimes be seen training with the first-team. Given he’s not out on loan, and there’s no reserve or youth team football being played, he must be around Lennoxtown on a daily basis, surely? The youngster’s contract expires in the summer, which is perhaps a sticking point, but Celtic boss Lennon can surely afford to give the tricky forward some playing time at this stage.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Belgian football expert gives us the low-down on a Celtic misfit.