Nine Academy Graduates sign first professional contracts, Celtic confirm

Celtic and have had a busy start to the summer transfer window with loan deals made permanent for Daizen Maeda, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and yesterday’s spectacular good news day as Jota became our Superstar from Portugal, permanently.

Those three players, who Celtic already know have more than what it takes to perform for Celtic have been joined by new signings Benjamin Siegrist and Celtic first Argentinian signing in the shape of former Lanus left back Alexandro Bernabei.

And whilst all this has been going on Celtic haven’t taken their eye off the ball with Head of Celtic Youth Academy Chris McCart advising nine young academy graduates have all signed their first professional contracts with Celtic.

And getting the likes of Mitchell Frame – who had attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and Wolves – tied down to a deal is not to be understated, after Celtic lost the likes of Liam Morrison, Barry Hepburn and Ben Doak – amongst others- in recent years, due to a lack of an evidenced pathway to first team football.

Aiden Haddow, Colby Donovan, Thomas Hatton, Josh Dede, Daniel Cummings, Kyle Ure, Aidan Cannon and Eseosa Sule have all joined Mitchell Frame in signing professional contracts with Celtic, and with Ange Postecoglou seemingly addressing the issues of pathway plans for Celtic’s young footballers, it is unlikely to be a coincidence that such a personal intervention from the manager has seen this group of players buy into a future at Celtic, rather than take up offers from the EPL and beyond.

And for Chris McCart, speaking to the opportunity for these graduates is now there for them to follow in the footsteps of Callum McGregor, Kieran Tierney and Anthony Ralston and make the grade at Celtic –

“Congratulations of all of our young graduates who have signed their first professional contract with Celtic this summer. This is a very proud moment for all the players and their families. Every one of these graduates have come through our Academy system joining us between the ages of seven and nine-years-old, starting off with our Junior Academy.

Mitchell Frame

“This is the same pathway that James, Callum and Kieran took to join Celtic. This current group have all attended our partnership performance school, St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch. They have benefited from our programme combining their football development while progressing their education.

“Hopefully they can follow in the footsteps of previous graduates like Kieran Tierney, Jack Hendry, Anthony Ralston, Michael Johnston and Stephen Welsh to become a regular in our first team.

“All of our staff who have worked with these players over the years, take a real pride in following the players’ development pathway through each age and stage on their journey at Celtic. It is important that we acknowledge the dedication of our staff to deliver their very best for each individual player.

“The importance of applying yourself in all that you do has been most apparent throughout all the players’ time in our programme and our advice to every player is that commitment to learning must continue.”

Chis McCart is right, those who have now graduated must continue to learn, but the incentive of a managed pathway to the first team must also be there, and in recent seasons the club has lost players to other clubs with a more joined up approach.

The work of these players now has to be matched by the football club, and hopefully now Celtic, under Ange Postecoglou, will be showing that they won’t rest on their laurels, as they ask the same of the future generation of graduates who have now signed their first professional contracts.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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