Why Celtic need to update fans more on their Youth Academy

By David Walton

May 10, 2021

As Celtic get set for a major rebuild this summer, it would be ideal if the club was able to take a look at the Youth Academy for potential replacements.

As many as 13 players could be needed ahead of the new season, with an extensive amount of work needing done on the first-team squad. As supporters, we would just assume that all of these new players need to be bought or signed up on loan deals.

For these days, not many of us even think about taking a look at the development squad. The reason? We simply have no idea where these players are at or what level they’re currently operating at. We don’t hear anything about them and, from a fans’ perspective, they might as well not even be at the club.

This is largely due to the lack of coverage fans get regarding the Youth Academy as a whole. One look at Celtic’s social media pages for it show you exactly how bare updates actually are.

The Celtic Youth Academy Twitter page sent out three tweets over the course of April alone. Granted, in recent months there has been some great coverage of the u16s downward. But in terms of the u18s and development squad? You hardly hear a peep.

For example, Celtic are currently participating in the Club Academy Scotland Under-18 league. You’ll do well to find much in the way of information about this anywhere. The under-18s have a game against Kilmarnock coming up tomorrow night [SFA]. The club won’t tweet live updates of the game, but at that level, it’s something we should be doing more regularly in order for fans to get an idea of who some of their potential future stars are.

Celtic Youth Academy updates remain bare

Only a couple of weeks ago did Celtic under-18s face Rangers at the Ibrox club’s training centre. That’s an event fans would’ve been interested in keeping tabs on. Celtic didn’t even acknowledge it on social media, whilst Rangers informed their supporters of the result and the goalscorers.

Even more concerning however is the lack of updates we get on those players on the fringes in the development side. The likes of Luca Connell, Ewan Henderson, and Jonathan Afolabi had hardly been heard from before their respective loan moves.

There had been next to no updates on Karamoko Dembele’s progress for months before he suddenly appeared against Aberdeen a couple of weeks ago. Armstrong Okoflex, meanwhile, appears to have dropped off the face of the earth after our 1-1 draw with Hibs in January.

The Celtic training centre at Lennoxtown / (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Months on end go past without Celtic fans being given an update on their progress.

Yes, removing ourselves from the SPFL Development League back in 2019 appeared to look a good move, but not if we’re failing to replace it with better experiences. At this rate, fans would’ve rathered we stayed in the division and that way we would know how they’re performing on a weekly basis.

Now, they’re getting next to no exposure if they fail to bag loan moves. It’s not ideal for players aged 16-21 and leaves fans in the dark over who’s coming close to the first team.

In other news, Martin O’Neill has explained what he would change in the Glasgow derbies.