“You are making me feel old there. It was a long time ago,” John Kennedy

Earlier today The Celtic Star asked John Kennedy about his own Celtic debut twenty odd years ago and the importance of a pathway for the Celtic starlets towards the Celtic first team.

John Kennedy and Stephen McManus sign for Celtic as 14 and 15 years olds in February 1998. John Kennedy became the youngest ever Celt when Kenny Dalglish gave him his debut in April 2000 against Motherwell in a 4-0 win at Celtic Park

Here’s what was asked the Celtic Assistant Manager. “I remember Kenny Dalglish giving you your debut twenty-odd years ago. How important is it for us to keep that tradition going and look at bringing in some of the B team players who have performed very well this season and who have just won the Glasgow Cup and maybe deserve some minutes before the end of the season?”

John Kennedy answered as follows: “You are making me feel old there. It was a long time ago! Yeah, Kenny obviously gave me my debut, which was a very proud moment for myself. I think that’s a big part of the club.

Celtic v Greenock Morton – Bosun Lawal right heads the ball during the Scottish Cup fourth round match at Celtic Park, Saturday January 21, 2023.Photo Jane Barlow

“The difficulty is when with a big club the opportunity isn’t there as much as with other clubs who maybe don’t have the resources to bring in the players we do and the demand to win all time. But you know, over the course of time especially when I’ve been here there’s always a player every season or two seasons who comes in and around the first team.


“In the last 6-9 months, we’ve had Bosun (Lawal), Ben Summers and Rocco Vata who train us every day. So again, that’s players we have looked at and thought they’re ones we want to try and develop and when we can bring them up with the first team into training regularly.

28th December 2022 Easter Road, Scottish Premiership Football, Hibernian versus Celtic Rocco Vata on the ball  ActionPlus Vagelis Georgariou

“You certainly see that difference, there’s more demand on them, there’s a higher level of tempo and intensity in how they play. You’ve seen some of them enter the pitch.

So again, that’s something the manager spoke about it in terms of last year. He made some changes to the B squad. Certainly, he has more of an eye on it now. Hopefully, in the seasons ahead, we’ll see a steady flow, and young talents coming through. Again, it’s about being ready for the opportunity when it comes along and you’ve got to take it because as I said, it’s Celtic and they don’t come around every week.”

Watch John Kennedy’s Media Conference ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren below. The Celtic Star also asked the Celtic Assistant Manager about the job Fran Alonso has done with the Celtic FC Women’s team…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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