Celtic Academy Operations Manager Brian Meechan gives a 2023 review and now’s the time for you to help The Celtic Star support the Celtic Academy as they strive to create the Celtic stars of the future…
I would like to start by thanking all the supporters who participate in the Celtic Pools Lotteries for their continued support and contribution to the Academy. This allows us to provide an excellent working environment for all our young players and staff, and is a major factor in developing players to represent Celtic at first-team level.
After seeing several youngsters make their first team debut last season, two more have followed in their footsteps in recent months. 17-year-old Mitchel Frame made his senior debut on the European stage in the UEFA Champions League against Feyenoord, and 18-year-old Daniel Kelly came off the bench to make his first appearance in the Scottish Cup tie against Buckie Thistle, both having been with the club since the age of nine.
This match in the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup also proved to be a landmark moment for another of our Academy youngsters as Rocco Vata went on to score his first senior competitive goal in the 5-0 victory.
As the club continues to look to develop the next generation of Celtic players, the construction at Barrowfield, which is currently underway, is a new development which will provide a first-class working environment for our young players and coaching staff to develop, whilst maintaining our links with the past, given that this is the ground where the Lisbon Lions trained on a daily basis.
The last year has seen our Academy players compete in some of the most competitive competitions across Europe, including the UEFA Youth League, Premier League International Cup, and other various tournaments across the continent. We believe this enhances our Player Development Programme, providing the opportunity to go up against some of the best clubs from across the globe such as Ajax, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and a number of English sides to name just a few.
Congratulations to former pupil Daniel Kelly on making his debut for Celtic’s first team today and to Rocco Vata on scoring his first goal for the first team. Anthony Ralston, Mikey Johnston and Stephen Welsh make it 5 former pupils on the pitch now. #perseverance
— St Ninian’s HS (@stninianshs) January 21, 2024
Alongside these developments on the pitch, off the pitch we have continued our School Partnership with St Ninian’s High School, Kirkintilloch. This ensures that our young players not only develop their football skills, but are able to achieve academic results should they choose a different career path. The support from Mr McLaughlin and his staff has once again been exceptional, helping us to achieve our shared goals.
In 2023, we were also delighted to appoint former Motherwell player and first-team Manager, Steven Hammell, to the role of Head of Academy Coaching. Steven has been and will be working alongside Chris McCart in developing our coaching staff as well as our young players. He has been with us for just over six months and continues to add to our programme with his vast coaching experience at senior and Academy level.
With all of this in the mind, across the coming year we aim to further develop well-rounded players, who go on to represent Celtic at the highest level, by providing them with a first-class coaching and playing environment.
Whilst none of the above would be possible without your support, other main contributors to our programme are those who are tasked with recruiting the best talent in the country, our scouting department. We are also very grateful for the support we receive from our wellbeing staff, who have been invaluable over the last 12 months, supporting our players, parents, and staff. Finally, the support of our administration staff who facilitate all the above, arranging flights, buses, and match facilities throughout the year.
Academy Operations Manager
Celtic FC Academy
Since we started the site, The Celtic Star has always supported Celtic Pools in order to provide funds to the Celtic Academy to produce the Celtic Stars of the future. And so many Celtic Star readers have signed up with multiple winners of some big prizes coming through via the Weekly Lottery which costs just £1 a week. It’s easy to join and help The Celtic Star help the Celtic Academy, just click on the image below…