If any critics of the Celtic academy want to question the quality of player coming through, just take a look at Stephen Welsh as evidence.
Yes, Frank McAvennie has come out and had a dig at the quality of the Lennoxtown youngsters. He claimed that they simply aren’t good enough to represent the club – even those who are out on loan and shining.
As quoted by Football Insider, McAvennie said: “I don’t think they’re good enough. Some of them are going on loan and they’re doing well and scoring goals but the reality is when you’re at Celtic you have to be better than everyone else.
“A lot of players will do well at other clubs but not quite do it at Celtic, some players can’t handle that step up. I’ve seen good players coming up through the ranks but they just can’t take that step, then they go away and do it at other clubs.
“Celtic is a big, powerful animal, a big machine and it takes a certain kind of player to be able to handle all of that.”
Many would’ve said the same about Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh
Look, McAvennie makes some valid points. Of course there are youngsters who don’t grow up to have the mentality or quality to play for Celtic. But it’s totally unfair to say that the ones currently at the club or out on loan aren’t good enough.
People would’ve said the exact same about Welsh before he was given his recent run in the side. He previously spent one short stint out on loan with Greenock Morton as recently as last season [Transfermarkt]. It’s not as if he was thriving in the Premiership before he was thrown into the mix.
Sure, Welsh has still to prove himself to an extent, but he’s performing well in the Parkhead senior ranks. He hasn’t looked out of place in our toughest domestic games of the season. And we’ve found this out by simply giving him an opportunity. It’s not as if pundits and supporters were salivating over him during his time at Morton.
What is the point in the likes of Luca Connell, Scott Robertson, and Jonathan Afolabi going out on loan if their form is going to be dismissed? Is there any reason to go out and impress if your attitude is as dismissive as McAvennie’s?
It’s not as if Connell, Robertson, or Karamoko Dembele would be coming into a Celtic side with the rest of the youngsters at Lennoxtown. They have senior players around them that allow them the chance to grow and develop as part of the side. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest our current Lennoxtown crop can’t make an impact next season. So long as they’re given the opportunity to do so.
But Welsh is a prime example of why nobody should count out some of the other academy products.