Brendan Rodgers yesterday praised Anthony Ralston as the Celtic manager stated that he is delighted for the player after signing a new four year contract at the club.
“I’m absolutely delighted for Anthony. He was a young player who showed a lot of promise when I was first here, came into the team, played some good games,” Brendan said.
“Obviously I think it really kicked on when Ange came in and had that early spell, he played quite a lot and you could see him growing from that so for me in the squad, I am absolutely delighted.
“He is a Celtic guy who has come through the system here, and I just think that when you have those guys like that in your squad you always get that extra wee bit out of them, so yeah, really happy for him. He’s going to be a big part of the future here and whether he plays or he doesn’t play he’s a very important member of the squad,” the Celtic manager explained.
Celtic yesterday tied up Scotland international, Anthony Ralston to a new four-year contract. The right-back looked to be on his way out of Parkhead merely a couple of seasons ago but he has certainly turned things around for himself and has proven to be one of the real modern day fairytales at the club since he broke into the side under Ange Postecoglou.
Anthony is another homegrown talent who came through the youth academy and also worked with current manager, Brendan Rodgers, during the Irishman’s last spell at the club before he left for the English Premier League with Leicester City in 2019. However, having only had time to sample a few games under Rodgers last time out, he will be hoping he can make more of an impact this time out.
💬 “For me and the squad, I’m absolutely delighted.”
Brendan Rodgers speaking on Anthony Ralston’s new four-year deal! #RALSTON2027 💚
The manager also previews our upcoming games against Motherwell & Lazio 🆚@CelticTV subscribers have exclusive access to this interview! 📽
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) September 26, 2023
🗣 “It’s a great feeling to sign with your boyhood club on a new contract. This is where I want to play my football.”
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) September 26, 2023
It will be difficult for Anthony to dislodge the imperious Canadian international, Alistair Johnston, but the Scot has made the fullback berth his own in the past by raising his game and meeting the challenge head on. Nobody thought for a second that the player would be a stalwart in the Celtic team a couple of years ago, never mind become a fully fledged Scottish international under Steve Clarke. So he could still surprise a few people.
He told Celtic TV: “I’m absolutely delighted, it’s a great feeling to sign with your Bhoyhood club on a new contract. It never gets old, that feeling of being able to put pen to paper to secure your future where you want to be. Essentially, this is where I want to play my football and it’s another proud moment in my career. I just put my head down every day and worked hard since I signed my last contract two years ago and it’s just been a case of going in, getting work done, doing my best for the team and helping to bring success. And I feel that, as a team, we’ve managed to do that, and within that players get their rewards, so like I say, I’m absolutely delighted to get it done.”
On working with Rodgers again, he said: “It’s been brilliant to work under him again. I got to work under him when I was younger, when I was 17 or 18. I learned a lot at that point in time, and I’ve taken that into the years gone by. And with him being back in again, it’s exciting for everybody to be learning under him and progressing again further. That’s what I’m looking to do and I’m sure he would have been a factor in it (the new deal), which I’m very thankful for and I’ve let him know that in private, but it’s a great moment for me and my family and everyone involved and I’m looking forward to now progressing my game further.”
Ralston added: “It means the world, it’s a cliché to say. I signed my first contract here when I was an eight-year-old kid, and you signed yearly. Then you progress up through the years and the ranks, so all the age groups I came through, it feels like a long journey, and it had been. But to get to this point and to be signing for another four years, and I’m 24 now, it’s been an incredible journey that myself and my family have been on. I’m delighted to extend it even further in the years moving forward, and being able to play for the team that I’ve supported and gone to the games as a kid.”
The Scottish defender is grateful for where he has managed to get to in his career, despite the obvious challenges and setbacks that he faced down the years to his current destination. He said: “Every young player coming through anywhere is going to have their challenges, especially breaking though and even when you break through, you’ll have injuries, personal matters in your own life, it’s just always trying to stay as positive as you can and believing that you’ll get to where you want to be.
“I was lucky enough to have role models like Callum and James in front of me who had broken into the team and that gives you that hope and belief as a young boy that you can get there. My family support is unbelievable. My Mum and Grandda, who recently passed away, he was my father-figure growing up in my life, and without him I wouldn’t be where I am. He’s now one of my reasons that I strive forward.
“Everybody that’s been involved, I’ve got a good friend group as well who keep me grounded, not that I need it, but I’ve just got such good people around me and always have. I owe all of them back, so signing this is a proud moment for all of them, especially my Grandda and my wee girl, and my Mum. I dedicate this one to them as well because they deserve it all, maybe even more so than me. It’s important that you have that and I’m just very lucky that I do.”
Ralston has signed a four-year extension with the club and that will keep him here until 2027. It comes amidst a raft of contact extensions as the club are keen to protect their assets and safeguard the future financial security of the club, as well as maintaining our homegrown crop of players, which the manager’s already said is fundamental to success at Celtic Park.