Ange Postecoglou's faith in youth will excite Celtic Lennoxtown hopefuls

By David Walton

June 7, 2021

Let’s not kid ourselves, the progression path at Celtic from Lennoxtown hopeful to first-team regular is barely recognisable.

Go back over the last 10 years. How many players have come through our academy and succeeded here since the end of the 2010/11 season? James Forrest had already broken through by then. Callum McGregor has managed to make a name for himself. Kieran Tierney was another major success. Anyone else you can think of?

If we’re going to be lenient, then Mikey Johnston can get a mention. Granted, it’s not as if he’s been tearing it up in the first-team on a regular basis. That’s not to say there aren’t a host of talented footballers in the academy either.

The likes of Luca Connell, Lee O’Connor, Adam Montgomery, Karamoko Dembele, Ewan Henderson, and Scott Robertson make that idea laughable. These are all players who are banging on the door waiting for their chance at first-team level. Regular minutes has deceived all of them this season.

Neil Lennon and John Kennedy haven’t been quick to give youth a chance. Over the last two campaigns, we’ve had no success stories come through the academy ranks. A couple of cameo appearances for Dembele in the last two games doesn’t cut it either.

Celtic have a host of exciting Lennoxtown hopefuls; Postecoglou knows all about youth development

Thankfully, our incoming manager has a track record of giving youth a chance. Firstly, it’s something Ange Postecoglou is passionate about given his seven years working with Australia’s youth teams. He should have an understanding of what’s needed for each individual player and have a keen determination to ensure there’s constant progression there.

With Postecoglou, surely he won’t allow some of our best young talents to stagnate the way they have done. Connell is a prime example. He was playing English Championship football with Bolton before he joined us in the summer of 2019. Fast forward two years and he’s just returning from a three-month loan spell with Scottish League Two winners Queen’s Park. Even the player himself stated he wasn’t doing much before leaving Parkhead in March [Irish Independent].

The likely next Celtic boss has also shown his enthusiasm for youth at club level too. During his time with Brisbane Roar in the A-League, he totally revolutionised the club with younger players. Out went respected, senior veterans such as Bob Malcolm, Craig Moore, and Charlie Miller. Postecoglou used his time in charge to bring in a host of players in their early 20s as well as promoting from with the academy.

Celtic training centre at Lennoxtown / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images9

Former team-mate of Posetcoglou’s, Alan Davidson, stated that, at the time, everyone believed the then Brisbane manager to be “crazy” [Daily Record]. Public perception clearly doesn’t stop the Greek-Australian from ensuring young players get their opportunities.

This should bode well for the host of young talented Celtic players currently waiting in the wings. At the very least, it should lead to opportunities throughout the season and more chances for them to train with the senior side.

For too long this is a football club that had seemingly cut its bridge from the youth development to the first team. With a bit of luck, Postecoglou’s passion for youth development leads to a big change in that regard at Celtic Park.

In other news, Celtic should move for the Liverpool winger who’s reportedly up for sale this summer.