Postecoglou on the importance of Celtic developing our own players

This season under new manager Ange Postecoglou, Celtic have handed some of their most promising youngsters much more playing time than many would have imagined, especially with this season being of the utmost importance due to the need to regain their position as Champions in Scotland after last season’s disastrous performance.

With the extra incentive of automatic Champions League qualification probably being handed to this season’s cinch Premiership winners, many would have expected to see very little of our youth talent but after a heavy list of injuries in our senior ranks, many have been promoted even quicker than the players themselves could have dreamt of.

Celtic v Raith Rovers – Premier Sports Cup – Celtic Park Celtic’s Adam Montgomery left and Raith Rovers David McKay. Photo Andrew Milligan

Players such as Adam Montgomery, Owen Moffat and Joey Dawson have been thrown into the deep end already this season and all have shown they are ready to swim as they have put in good performances in testing times to help Celtic keep pace at the top of the cinch Premiership.

Ange Postecoglou has only been at the club for just over 6 months but he realises that progressing players from the club’s youth system to the first team is something that has historically been very important to Celtic fans and continues to be to this day.

“I certainly do,” Postecoglou said according to glasgowtimes. “I think it’s an important part of any club, this club.

22nd December 2021; St Mirren Park, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland; Scottish Premier League football, St Mirren v Celtic FC; Owen Moffat of Celtic on the ball

“Having players who were brought up with this club is important. I mean, you just have to look at our captain. It’s not just for Callum, it’s for our supporters. To know that one of their own has gone from the terraces to on the pitch.

Callum McGregor is quite clearly the poster boy when it comes to homegrown players in this current squad. Callum has been with Celtic since he was 8 years old and he didn’t progress into the first team set up as easily as say the likes of former players like Kieran Tierney. He had to go out on loan for a year at Notts County to prove himself before ever getting near the senior squad. He proves that the road might not always run smooth but with hard work you will get a chance.

Discussing promoting others into the first team set up in the future Ange went on to say “It’s definitely something I want to do but we’re not just going to give away appearances. They’ve got to earn it.

“The first half of the year, some of them have been given it probably earlier [than they would have]. That’s the reality of our situation with injuries, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that they’ve had the opportunity.

19th December 2021; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish League Cup final, Hibernian versus Celtic: Owen Moffat and Adam Montgomery of Celtic celebrate with the trophy

“It’s certainly something I’d like to do. It’s important, it’s a priority, that we keep developing our own players.”

Personally I think it’s imperative that Celtic continue to have at least a few homegrown players involved in the squad, though I have to admit when fans say a player has to ‘get it’ it really annoys me. I don’t really care if a player coming up through the ranks supported Celtic as a boy or if their family are Celtic through and through, just that they always give 100% and have the potential to one day be good enough to make an impact on the first team.

I think it’s important for the reason that seeing the likes of a Callum McGregor or a Stephen Welsh make it at Celtic inspires others who are currently following the same path and shows that with hard work they can make it at the club. That’s what it’s all about. It also feels good for fans to know that the system is working, that it’s not all about who has the most money to spend in football but also about who has the best structures in place to help develop their own future stars.

It’s good to see our current manager agrees and hopefully he continues to hand promising youngsters opportunities in the future.

Conall McGinty

About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!

Comments are closed.