Former Celtic kid bounces back from release to sign for English Premier League side
Former Celtic Academy talent Jude Smith has bounced back from being released by the Bhoys last summer to sign for Newcastle United this weekend.
Smith was on the books at the Bhoys but left the club last year before being signed up by East Fife for a season in Scottish League One.
He was exposed to a lot of first-team football, making 28 appearances between the sticks. Although his side were relegated, Smith won three club player of the year awards voted on by fans and his teammates.
That exposure to senior action earned him a trial with the Magpies, where he impressed and was eventually offered a two-year deal.
The 19-year-old told the Newcastle website: “I’m buzzing to be signing for Newcastle United. After playing in the lower leagues of Scotland, I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to go and play for a club like Newcastle.
“I was playing part-time at East Fife last season so it’s a great opportunity to be full-time with Newcastle. It’s an unbelievable chance for me to go and develop my career further so it was a no-brainer for me to join.
“Playing for East Fife’s first-team was good experience, especially at a young age, and playing mens’ football did me the world of good. I just want to be playing week in week out, especially as a goalkeeper. It’s the next chapter in my life which I’m looking forward to and really hope to kick on.”
Smith will now have the chance to compete with Newcastle’s U23 sides and forge himself a professional career, with opportunities likely to be far better coming out of St James Park even if he doesn’t make it in Eddie Howe’s set-up.
Going from part-time football straight to a Premier League side is pretty impressive, so fair play to Smith for doing enough on his trial and making the most of a big opportunity.