Youth shows the way

I haven’t been paying much attention to the World Cup but I have noticed online predictions from various England supporters stating Jude Bellingham will win them the tournament in the winter, then join Liverpool for a club record fee of 150 million plus in the summer.
Which begs the question, why didn’t Liverpool simply buy him from Birmingham as a seventeen year old and play him, just as Borussia Dortmund did? They could have reared their own star and earned a fortune upon his transfer, rather than forking out more than most Scottish clubs are worth on one single player.
A special talent usually emerges early by way of being too good to hold back, and the city of Liverpool itself has witnessed this in the past, both Rooney and Owen burst onto the scene in their teenage years, Ronaldo and Giggs doing the same in nearby Manchester.
Messi and Raul lit up Spanish football while still technically boys, as did Maradona and the great Pele in South America.
There’s a huge lesson there, and Im honestly wondering if it’s past professional football by.
Playing meaningful games from a young age clearly helps develop the players talent. Bellingham is simply the latest example, soon to become a very expensive example of this simple fact.
The names mentioned are or were special talents indeed, but surely the lesson holds true for any and all talent? Using that talent from an early age helps one hone it, and gain mastery over it.
Dortmund find themselves in that sweet spot of not having to win every game or the league itself given Bayern’s dominance, so they can afford to blood and nurture youth players, presumably to the pleasure of their supporters if not their accountants. Selling Haaland and the young Englishman in one calendar year shall take in a fortune, I think it’s fair to say that club won’t be changing strategy anytime soon.
Why others aren’t copying that strategy is beyond me.
Our club of choice has no need to change at the moment, our far flung cheap diamond strategy is currently very successful.
But perhaps we have also found that sweet spot?
With a strong squad to ensure a strong ten around him, and the nearest challenger financially curtailed, maybe the team could blood a youngun?
Could Rocco Vata for instance become the next Aiden McGeady, Shaun Maloney or James Forrest?
The cherry on the icing of the cake would be bringing a youth player all the way through into first team regular perhaps star.
That’s my wish, Santa.

By Mahe

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Which begs the question, why didn’t Liverpool simply buy him from Birmingham as a seventeen year old and play him,

Also begs the question, why didn’t Liverpool simply buy VVD from Celtic. I don’t think Southampton improved VVD. More likely English teams think Scottish Football is pub league standard.


Morning all,


From last thread.

We were due to land in Lanzarote on Sunday but due to the weather, got diverted to Tenerife South airport, we’re bussed 1 hour 15 to the north, snoozed for 5 hours, bus backed to Airport and eventually flown to Lanzarote the next day to !!!!

Bumped into John Candy and Steve Martin on route 😜😜😜


Good Morning Celts – Grand Day To Be A Tim

Good Article Mahe

And good spot – if your good enough your old enough seems to have no place in Scotland especially Celtic*

There are a number of factors in this but our overall attitude must change, think Ange is alive to this though.

He’s given several young player chances and has persisted with Stephen Welsh, partly out of necessity I know.

Now when I’ve been watching interviews with the young English stars, the world cup panel, especially Gary Lineker seemed blown away by them

They seem smart, articulate, great understanding of their roles – then technically and athletically supremely developed – Souness, the arch critic was blown away by Bellingham

Souness remember learned his trade under none other than the great Bobby Murdoch.

Attitudes and application is so important.

It was interesting that Ange took three youngsters to Oz, when asked about their development and first team involvement he mentioned Rocco Vata and Lawal Bosun as bhoys who will definitely get their chance – Scott Robertson wasn’t mentioned, deafening silence there.

The facilities and expertise to develop players must be there for clubs to keep hold of there talent, Ben Doak was raving a out the facilities and coaching he has at Liverpool.

*Of course having the physic of a strong athletic man way before your time is necessaryat Celtic as boys are going to get kicked to bits with no protection from referees, Keiran Tierney being the prime example

Maybe a partnership with a team like Fleetwood who can have our talented youngsters for a couple of seasons on loan while they can technically, physically and athletically improve.


Hail Hail


It’s very rare for a young Celtic player to break into the first team and own the jersey from game one. Nicholas and McStay spring to mind, but that was forty years ago. Our main competitors at the time were Aberdeen and Dundee Utd, both at the peak of their powers and serious forces in Europe. You had to be good to hold down a place in that Celtic team but Charlie and Paul were better than good.

KT was blooded by Ronny Deila when the league was a one horse race. There was no pressure at all on young Kieran so there were ample opportunities to smooth out his rough edges.

At the moment there does not appear to be any outstanding talents at youth level. The best prospects have recently headed to Germany and England to further their careers, and no doubt, for a bit more cash.

Guys like Walsh have had a chance but are a level below the first picks. It’s a ruthless and brutal business trying to make a career as a footballer. Good luck to them all anyway.

Jobo Baldie

Good morning, friends.
2 days without football on our TVs, how shall we survive!
And on the subject matter of Mahe’s lead article there was a great result for EKFC in the Lowland League last night getting a goalless draw away to Rangers B. And yes, the home team DID get a penalty in the 70th minute but it was saved.


Hopefully the influence of AP will start to make its mark on the academy and the youth teams.
For whatever reasons the results our efforts in these areas are diminishing year on year.

Something badly wrong — all the way back to DMcG’s mum getting so fed up she took her boys to the TFOD2.1 where of course Dylan shined for a season or two before coming back.

In the recent past any criticism was met with the rejoinder that we have a 13 year old playing for the U20’s so we must be doing something right — well that didn’t end well did it?

All the recent issues — the exodus of talent at 16 and 17 would suggest that we can spot talent but we cannot develop it.
So at least we have managed to get something right — just a case of close but no cigar.

St Ninians has to be revisited — extended family gossip points to a High School Musical / Glee club atmosphere.
If you are in the team at the start then you are in the gang till the end.
Late bloomers / individualists / the shy — well they need not apply.



I’ve read your critical comments of the school environment young Celts attend a number of times.
There has always been an “In” crowd in school environments.
Can only be worse where the glamour of being a Celtic Bhoy elevates your status.
However, how is this having a negative impact on player development?
Too many distractions?
It’s simple enough.
If the boys aren’t dedicated then they’ll fail.

If it’s poor coaching that should be resolved.
If you’re good enough you get your chance.

Morning all

Always a perilous business developing young players and those who have commented already have detailed many of the pitfalls generally and specifically to Celtic. I don’t know what the situation is at St Ninian’s – Mad M may be right but as he admits his assessment is based on gossip but like that contributor I do wonder if Celtic is paying much attention to the set up. Do we have an Academy because we are obliged to or because we take it seriously?

I wonder if it is right to say we do not develop talent past 16 -17. If the best players are leaving at that age we are , logically, left with also-rans. Good also- rans sometimes but also-rans nevertheless.

I also wonder if money plays an unexpected part in making youngsters complacent. 10-12 years ago one of my occasional customers was an 18 year old English lad who was on our books. Never got near a first team place but his monthly take home pay was comfortably more than any 18 year old in the business I work in will tak home monthly in 2022. Danny McGrain and Kenny Dalglish – our last homegrown world class players- succeeded because they had Stein and Sean Fallon , talent and ambition to be great players but they would also have wanted to earn a good living and to do that they needed a regular start in the big team. If you can earn enough money to buy an Audi without playing in the big team ever then, subconciously perhaps, you might not push yourself. I am not saying we should pay our B Team players peanuts- and nor do I know if my example from 2010 was typical- merely expressing a thought I’ve had for a while




I guess that’s what MM references as “ glee club”.

It’s a generational thing. Social convention 55 years ago was literally a black n white existence.
You took your chance because the alternative was generally pretty stark.
The social media driven multi coloured universe today offers choice and temptation.
Being a young pro footballer today offers huge reward but the sacrifices, for a 15-18 year old, are equally challenging. It’s easy to see why the attrition rate is so high.


CFC @ 10.20

Apologies for the Q+D response.
Extended family connections with St Ninians.

Issue seems to be the influence of the girls in any particular year.
They coalesce around the team early doors and then provide the glue going forward.
Late bloomers / shy and retiring types / individualists then find it tough to get in / fit in.

Current football ability would appear to be secondary to your place in the group as you go through school.
And your place in the group would appear to be determined by the girl who had adopted you early doors.
And with that year in particular you had to be a 3 or 4 Highers at least / mum has an Audi type of gal to be credible.

Jr in the free pie seats around 2018/19 — some youth players were in and he was too shy to go up to talk to them.
His female “cousin” who was with us — and who knew them — had them over in a flash to make a fuss of a spotty teenager in a mother hen fashion.

She was also the font of all knowledge who was up / who was down / who was in / who was out regarding academy youth football. A career in sales awaits probably but she and her pals would appear to be the spine of the group throughout the school years with the boys hanging on as some sort of fashion / football accessory.

As you note all school year groups have in crowds and a pecking order — but the stampede out at 16 and 17 would suggest that for some they can’t wait to get out of our academy environment. Money talks of course but our youth performance levels are poor and of what we have left too many leave the club at 20 for the SCh not even the SPL.

All of this is an outsider looking in.
In the main pure conjecture on my part.
Consequently open to fairly critical analysis.

But we have not developed the talent that we should have.
And the fail is so big that everything should be up for discussion.

PS — it started out as Q+D …


The Celtic website shows that we have a first team squad of 27 players, with another players 10 out on loan. Celtic B has a squad of 25 players. That’s 62 players in total registered to Celtic. As Jimbo67 says, that’s quite a fleet of Audi’s parked on driveways.

Only 16 players get the jersey on first team matchday, or 26% of our total number. Begging the question, what chance do the other 46 players have of playing in front of 60,000 on a regular basis ? Slim to none would be the case for most of them.

Do we really need a B squad or should we just have , say, 35 players in total on the payroll and “asset manage” those players to get maximum value from the green pound ? We live next door to the richest league in the world so should be taking maximum advantage of that.

Something different needs to happen to make us a feared name in Europe again, and not just group stage fodder.


J67 @ 10.28

I think you are being a bit harsh on CN and PMcS of the early 80’s.
CN left us with the possibility of being world class.
If he had went to L/pool — then who knows?
Plus DH / GC / LMac of the QSG were up there regarding talent / performance.

Big Audio Dynamite

We seem to produce youth good enough to attract the biggest names in the game.

Maybe they would make it into our first team, if it wasn’t for others quadrupling their money!

Others may get the benefits, but it doesn’t change the fact we produced these boys.


Leggy/Phileas Fogg

Sounds like a horrific journey. Often see Tenerife flights diverted to North airport due to winds. Never heard of what happened to you.
Hope your catching up on all the valuable drinking time you lost.🍻🍻🍻🍻


JD @ 11.30

Yes we need a B team — just a case a B team with more quality / talent / potential than we have at the moment.

First team squad of 27 would appear to be the size that AP wants to work with.
3 x GK / 2 for every outfield position plus some spares.
Matchday squad is 21 — 10 now allowed on the bench.
So not many in suits in the stand come Matchday.

The 10 out on loan are just the residue of the frog kissing and agent friendly punts that PL was responsible for …
In the main anyway.

We need to have fully functioning B Team aged to suit the CL youth competition — nothing else.
That would be 23 / 25 players outside of our academy structure.

Plus a few loans to keep the possibles occupied so that we can have a good look at their attitude / growth potential if they are too old for the CL youth competition.

AP is on the case and starting to deliver a sustainable structure.
Before that it was hit and hope.



Q+D – quick and direct?

Thanks for the feedback.
Sounds like a finishing school for wags.
These lads have no chance against budding Colleen’s n Rebecca’s!


J67 @ 10.28

I think you are being a bit harsh on CN and PMcS of the early 80’s.
CN left us with the possibility of being world class.
If he had went to L/pool — then who knows?
Plus DH / GC / LMac of the QSG were up there regarding talent / performance.

December 7, 2022 11:32 am
Agree to a point but maybe PHG doing RGD beside FGR developing WSD could see QWS with DF/SD/WA
helps DFC become SXZ.
Your thoughts?


CFC @ 12.04

Q+D = Quick and Dirty …

St Ninians = Not wags more like junior management.
I think that is part of the issue — not up against trolley dollies our youth players are up against trolley designers.
They have no chance.

The players come from all over — don’t know anyone / new environment starting 2nd year?
The girls all know each other from primary — shooting fish in a barrel for those that are interested.
The A listers fill their boots and theirs is the social structure in play.
Not the social structure / player hierarchy of a football team.

Gregory’s Girl comes into mind / play.
Trading blokes while doing a bit of serious pipette work.
Looking good in a lab coat is where it is at.


Chris @ 12.09

My thoughts — don’t give up your day job …

Big Audio Dynamite

MM, you claim Lawwell was responsible for signing players for the club, yeah? Was it also him who identified and scouted them?

I’m starting to think he was vastly underpaid! 😕


Big Audio Dynamite
MM, you claim Lawwell was responsible for signing players for the club, yeah? Was it also him who identified and scouted them?
I’m starting to think he was vastly underpaid! 😕

Only problem BAD is you’ve now been rumbled as PL’s agent.
Are you on 10% or more than that.

The Gombeen Man

Thanks Mahe for the article. It’s increasingly difficult to produce young gifted footballers who are able to compete against opponents better suited to the Highland Games.

As the referees stats show, we’re playing a different sport in Scotland compared to Europe.

Flair and technique are frowned upon in favour of the ‘levelling-up’ we witness on a weekly basis.

Not suited to the development of young elite footballers.


National Records of Scotland

Key Findings :

“Scotland is the only UK country where the population is projected to fall during the next 25 years. If these projections were realised.

Scotland’s share of the UK population would fall from 8.1% in mid-2020 to 7.6% by mid-2045.
Scotland’s population is projected to age.

The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to grow by nearly a third by mid-2045.

The number of children is projected to fall by over a fifth. The working age population is projected to remain fairly stable.

As now, more people are projected to move to Scotland than leave each year. There are more deaths than births each year, and the gap between births and deaths is projected to widen. Over time, this will outweigh the growth from migration.”

– Maybe we should look at a veteran’s league, Scotland’s future footballers v Father Ted’s 11?

– On the bright side, there’s going to be a healthy future for Blogs catering for that increasing, frustrated, demographic.

– Mobility scooters, poundshops, drafts, dentures and repeat- prescriptions.

– The slowly changing face of Scotland.

‘Auld’ Lang Syne.’,2028%2C%20peaking%20at%205.48%20million.

Afternoon all! I’ve long since posted the issues facing youth development in this country aren’t Celtic’s, they’re structural. Since the abolition of the Reserve League we have failed completely in our development. This was down to the SFA enforcing a certain number of homegrown boys on the bench at the time when every club was bringing in exotic Bosman signings, that were generally no better than what we coulda shoulda had! As always with the SFA it was a bandaid on a cardiac arrest, done with some sort of honourable intention but with no real desire to understand the underlying issues. Then Oldco decided they weren’t playing the game of trying to win the Champion’s League and build for the future so decided not to enter a team into the reserve league. The reserve league folded and never returned in the format in which it had served fitba for decades.
At present Celtic can only operate in whatever competitions are available to them. They are insufficient for boys from the age of 16 to 21. Of course, wee diamonds will usually come to the for but the reserve league has never been replaced.
Youth fitba in this country is a disgrace, from grassroots to Pro Youth the standard of facilities, coaching and opportunities is well below what it should be!

TGM… obviously writing as I was! Again, even allowing for demographic changes we are ill-equipped to regularly produce top quality young players as the structure does not allow for it!

big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, talking of young talent remember a game 66/67, Celtic against Manchester utd, lovely sunny day at Parkhead, we beat them 4-1 and a young player stood out, think he also scored, I give you Luigi Macari, another true story👍

Jobo Baldie

The main attraction of SC for me is the informed debate with an awful lot of VCP. Usually EDASD on here whether it’s HIs, R2LIs, or scoops from BB. But it did use to be FE, especially for my LSB, when folk avoided TLAs. So unfortunately the JSB approach is now my default as i really canny be bothered with the HW. A pity really as I do realise I’m missing some DD.
Oh well, time to PUTCDs…..?..

big packy

also, my uncle packy took me to a reserve game probably 1969/70, can’t remember, Celtic playing cumbernauld united, a young guy stood out, he ran the show, I give you Kenneth Mathieson Dalgliesh. 👍 another true story

Big Audio Dynamite

Frodshambhoy, 😆 considering the number of roles it’s claimed he’s filling, surely his agent deserves a wee raise.

Identifying and scouting players.
Negotiating and signing them.
Running Celtic single-handed.
Sitting or various boards from Celtic to UEFA.
Making sure our friends in Govan have a team to watch.
Running Scottish football (Shhh)

All that, and he still had time to undermine every Celtic manager since 2003.

The evil &@$]@€)

HH, buddy.



Yes,infuriating at times. It’s clear that MM has a lot to offer the site.but I usually give up!

St tams

Good article Mahe and a lot of excellent posts, re. youth player development and the academy.
Personally don’t think in the last 10 years that the academy has given value for money. We have also lost too many prospects.
A lot championship clubs down south are actually closing their academies down as they’re not getting a good enough return.

Something else that I can’t understand, cis why does our B team play their home games on an artificial surface.

big packy

regarding madmitch finally realized he is a kilsyth bhoy, he used to say kiltoon, i should have joined the dots then, it’s when he mentioned st ninians I knew, every catholic from croy and kilsyth attended st Ninians kirkintiloch, including my dad and his brothers and sisters, another true story👍

CFC @ 11.01

I am not even sure I know what a glee club is! It was all hymn singing, tennis balls in the playground and fly fags at the back of the huts in my day!

Mad M @ 11.32

I chose Kenny and Danny as they were the last of the series of world class players Celtic had developed to cement their places in the first team- both were also renowned for their dedication to self improvement. As it happens I do not believe that Macari attained world class status. A very good player who left us for what was then an inferior team he may well have reached the standard that the other 2 did had he stayed with us until he was 26 but for reasons you and I have discussed elsewhere he chose to leave at 23.

Charlie Nic never attained the position he could have – wrong choice at 21- couldda been a contender, couldda had class. McStay always had the class even in his fading years but it was his misfortune to play for Celtic and Scotland teams that were often disappointing or even bad. Certainly looked world class during Euro 92 but injuries kicked in after that. We’ve had a few terrific home grown players since- Tierney possibly the best- but none as good as Paul.

McCaff @ 1.54

I think you may have hit the proverbial nail on its bonce there. Scotland has never really progressed from the days when kids played on waste ground or in the street, teachers or jannies gave club scouts a tip about good players they had spotted and players developed in the Junior leagues. A surfeit of bad coaching ( from in some instances truly bad people) , lazy thinking, setting up pointless talking shops and a failure to even understand what the goals are means a country which produced smashing players such as Harry Hood, Tom Callaghan and Jimmy O’Rourke et al who were not thought to be quite good enough for the national side (and nobody raised an eyebrow) now cannot produce players near to their class


The Star Above The Crest

Graham Hunter had Walter Smith on his Podcast and they were discussing Scotland Under 18s winning the Euros in 1982. Smith said Andy Roxburgh produced a report on the future of Scottish football and found that Scotland couldn’t rely on talent emerging from the streets as kids would have more distractions than previous generations so the SFA/clubs would have to be more proactive in getting young players exposed to specific coaching. In a development that will surprise no sane person, the SFA chose to utterly ignore Roxburghs findings and continue on the path they were on ie letting someone else do the work and hoping for the best. Interestingly, Smith, who was Roxburghs Asst Manager at the time said he disagreed with the findings of the report yet later admitted he was wrong.

Here we are 40 years after that report, still bemoaning the lack of young talent coming through.

The Gombeen Man

Hi McCaff,

Sorry for the delay…

Odds and sods,

Yes, there’s a great deal to it.

It’s worth looking into the possibility that the perceived lack of success at St Ninians is a symptom of what’s going on in Scottish society and the lack of a national coordinated football development structure.

Celtic and Sevco can only field 22 players plus subs. Every point is fought over in the two horse race. Kids only get a game out of necessity. What are the chances of a youngster getting the game time necessary to succeed?

If a youth really has potential are they better off elsewhere?

With the movement of foreign players and the development of places like Morocco and Montenegro, there’s much more competition.

With the direction of the travel of the Scottish demographic, it’s even more pertinent that more goes into attracting, coaching and developing young players.

What does success look like? What are we trying to achieve?

I know you’re involved at grass roots level, you’re input is invaluable.

– Fewer kids, smaller families, not leaving school at 15 years (approx), more distractions.

University or college, get on the property ladder. It’s a completely different landscape.

Youth football was quite expensive, subs when my lad played were doable but if you’ve 2 or 3 kids playing, subs + gear is expensive. It’s not a cheap hobby.

I was looking at the data for our average attendances over the years. The uplift since all seated stadia and SB’s is clear.

It’s a given that there was quite a bit of turnstile undercount going on across the board, could it be argued that the increased attendances are also evidence that we are a nation of spectators?

It’s also very clear from the attendance data why Dermot and Co wanted ‘Rangers’ back, etc, etc,etc.

Interesting numbers :


BP @ 3.20

Kiltoon @ St Ninians — never happened / not in my lifetime..
For us in the Free North it was St Modans or the Huts out the Stirling Road.
Then it was the junior secondary element of St P’s and finally Notre Dame if you wanted to do O grades / Highers.

The Holy City @ St Ninians — combustible mix back in the day / so I have been told.
For those in the Occupied South / East Dumbartonshire you have had your challenges — no doubt.
Kirky in the dim and distant past and then Notre Dame when the new town was being built.

Currently there would appear to be a truce — Kiltoon and the Holy City both go to San Moritz.

big packy

MADMITCH, apologies, got it wrong again😎👍

Aye TGM, odds and sods right enough! You’ve introduced demographic issues and teenage issues which could very well be problems that other football associations may also have faced and overcome because a structure existed for success. There is no such structure in place in Scottish fitba, Id go further and say the structure appears designed to fail. There’s no joined up thinking betwe all agencies in Youth fitba. The kids’ fitba is run by amateur volunteers as are all teams – even the huge community clubs with a good set of financials. All work out side of the Pro Youth setup is voluntary with virtually no support from the SYFA and SFA. Having dealt with these guys on a practical and admin level for years I can tell you it seems that even the basic admin functions are designed to help the governing bodies not the clubs. There is no joined up thinking in terms of coaching – as long as you can prove you’re entitled to a Disclosure Scotland certificate you can get any number of badges. I presented a drill with a group of 6 or 7 guys at my U13s badge which essentially utilised all the guys as ‘players’ in a wee possession based drill. None of these guys presented, none of them spoke at the presentation, none of them really had to show any coaching attributes but all of us got the same award at the end of the 2 Day course. There is no follow up course to refresh any info you’ve been given. There’s no centralised, defined thinking as to how the game should be played, there’s no ‘style’ of play advised that teams should try to introduce. You get your badge and are then left for 3 years to get on with it. And all this is at grassroots level when kids are just starting to play 11s. We were a part of the local Junior club setup who had a new ground and they established a relationship with the SFA, they had the use of the ground for Youth internationals. As a wee thank you the SFA sent coaches down to oversee the training/coaching sessions for the wee boys during the week – an absolute waste of time. A couple of young poseurs in all the gear that would promise you they would spend some time with you working on certain things…it never happened!
It’s extremely frustrating trying to run a team within the structures of the youth game in Scotland.
Moving on to the Pro Youth level, clubs sweep up the bulk of the decent players up to age 12, promising everything. Players developing at different rates mean this is not an exact science so players get released at age 14 or 15 , and won’t come to the youth clubs that will give them a chance because they’ve been told all their lives they’re better than that. These boys get lost too easily to fitba. We were in the bottom division of boys’ fitba but we had some good players who could have played up a couple of divisions. They could compete against far better players. Six of our team played for the school team in a tourney in Barcelona, the other teams in our area from teams higher up the divisions making up the rest of the squad.
Despi having these players nobo ever came to watch our games, no-one from the League, no-one from the Pro Youth set up as they felt if they’re playing at that level they cannae be good enough.
There are so many things wrong with the structure and this is all at grassroots level.
Moving on to the Pro Clubs the demise of the Reserve League took away the ability of players to transition into the first team. Getting into the Reserve team was a big thing for a youth player at Celtic – or any other club for that matter. Once you were in it was up to you to work hard to boost your chances of getting promoted to the big team. Celtic have a great history of giving boys a game at the end of the season, a wee 10 or 20 minute sub appearance and then you never saw them again for months, then they’d get 3 or 4 games on the bench and depending how the games were going would get more and more gametime. Playing in the Reserves with and against senior players perhaps out of form or returning from injury was a massive bonus to a boy of 18 or 19 trying to find his level in the game! That has all gone with no sign of it ever returning. There’s neither desire nor cash to make it happen. At present there is no decent competition for boys on the verge of breaking through to the first teams in Scottish fitba. It’s why Celtic, TRFC and Hearts are in the Lowland league, I understand the criticism of this move but it really is the best way available at the moment for young boys to challenge themselves against men. Our youth players have always been amongst the best in the country. They’ve had years of being better, possibly stronger, possibly faster than their opponents.They need to come up against bigger stronger players regularly to have any chance of understanding there are players out there who will put you up in the air without a second thought.
Apologies for rambling on but it is something in which I feel we are miles behind the game!!


McC @ 6.24

Is the B team not now the target for our youth / academy players?

I appreciate that the players they will be up against will be different from the situation with the old Reserve League but it offers a status to aim for and a steppingstone to the first team squad?

The other dimension that has come into play this season is the junior CL competition.
From what I saw it looked like a step too far for us but it did offer an insight into where we needed to b e.

The away game against RM was a tough watch at times as when they had the ball we looked lost.
However when we did manage to get the ball our tempo / speed of movement was transformed.
To my untrained eye it suggested that attitude / appetite were the issues not actual speed.

The issue then was accuracy / precision and we struggled after the fourth pass and we either lost the ball or they crowded us out. The difference seemed to be that they were much more active / organised when they didn’t have the ball and so forced turnovers much more quickly.

Hopefully lessons are learned and we move things forward.

Given the CL rules for homegrown players — club developed if the player has 3 years with the club up until they are 21 — then we should be putting in a lot of effort to bring in players at 17 so that if they do make it with us they count as homegrown.

Might explain the efforts we put in to bring in the M/F’er from Paisley during the summer.
If he is / was to make the move — he is much more valuable to us in the long term if he comes at 17 rather than 18

Yeah MadMax…the leaving of Tommy McIntyre and the installation of Stephen McManus and Darren O’Dea seems to be a move instigated by Ange with a view to mirroring the style of play of the first team. That has to be a positive. Real Madrid youths were miles ahead of us, miles! We had a couple of spells in the game where we looked capable of taking the game to them but they were few and far between and they seemed able to step up a gear when they had to.
The issue remains that there is not enough weekly competitive football to hone the skills and pace we need to be playing at. This is not for one age group, this is for generations of Youth players who are trying to transition from youth to senior players. It’s been happening for 20 years, or more. We need to address the structure that seems to prohibit competitive fitba for our boys from 16 to 21. The B Team are prohibited from winning the Lowland League! What kind of competition is that? These boys need so much more than just game time, they need a physical challenge, they need to be seriously tested, against better harder stronger players. The only thing that can give them that is regular competitive games against their peers. The Lowland League is a sham for them, it’s the best available but it’s a sham.
This is a serious issue, hopefully Ange and Nicholson are understanding of the problem, maybe Tommy McIntyre was stale, maybe too negative about the circumstances he was being asked to produce in – I don’t know, just conjecture on my part – but McManus and O’Dea have got a massive job on their hands.

The Gombeen Man

‘Turnstile Undercount’- other than all ticket European matches the crowd figures released rarely seemed anything like what was there- both directions. Hampden and Easter Road were as bad. I could bore you about a game against Airdrie in April 1969 but will refrain

I think you are right however to suggest we have become more of a nation of spectators- growing up being interested in football meant you played ( or had played) as well as watched. People still play but I seldom see youngsters – or grownups – in parks playing bounce games amd if I go out on a Sunday I won’t see many games being played by people of almost all ages, many hungover and few possessed of much ability as I once would have been able to.

Football for most now seems to be something on the television- entertainment provided by others. And the audience is often quite old. Real Madrid’s president made a point during the super league that football has lost its hold on the young. He may have been right.


Yeah Jimbo, you’re right there’s less ‘bounce’ games happen. A lot of that is because parents, myself included, wouldn’t let my young kids put to play unsupervised. We became prisoners to the fear of abduction and assault. Immediate 24/7 news done for us !’s not all bad, my wee guy still kicks a ball with his mates down the sports centr or the local 5s centres on an ad hoc pay as you go basis. As for the Saturday and Sunday Leagues they are probably as well attended as they have been for years. In our league, in our age group we had 4 divisions with 40-odd teams, each squad minimum of 16 up to 20. That’s a lot of boys playing organised fitba. That was replicated across 6 age groups at 11 a sides, add in the Fun Fours, the Five a sides then the 7 a sides and you’ve got some amount of lads kicking a ball at the weekend!
There’s tons of good people keeping fitba alive for kids, all done without expectation of reward, without these volunteers it couldn’t happen. But my issues are really that all they’re doing is kicking a ball, there’s no real structure to help kids progress. Most kids seem to find a team or a level at about 12 year old and few make a step up after it.
A wee true story…the only person who has moved onto the pro Youth/Senior setup from the two Clubs I was involved with is a girl. Now playing with one of the Lanarkshire Ladies teams!

big packy

MCAFF, I do the true stories on here🤩🤩 hope you are well pal👍


Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Football may no longer be quite as universally popular as it once was but it is hardly facing extinction- in the way that, say, cricket might be for all barring ex-public schoolboys in England.

The youngest in my family , Luca (8) plays every Sunday and my best friend at work, Alan ( a blue nose) , takes his wee boy (7) to football training every week so I know children do seem to still love playing it whilst the gradual rise of women/girls football seems a good thing. But as you say it seems , from a distance, very unstructured. I said earlier in the day the SFA and others overseeing the game in this land don’t seem to even know what goals they hope to achieve. England was in similar mess 40 years ago and have adapted- we are still using a teachers’ work to rule in the mid-80s as a major reason for our decline.

Still I have to admit that , in what has admittedly been quite a bad year personally, the highlight was seeing Luca after his first Celtic game- the cup game with Raith. The adults thought the game was pretty ordinary- poor first half, slightly better second- but he’d never seen anything as exciting in his life.


Jimbo…love the story about Luca and his first game. I started taking my wee guy in 2012 when he was 6. He’s had a ST ever since. Going to the games with him, watching him growing up in front of my eyes, seeing him appreciate and understand the game more and more – definitely more than I ever did at the same age – is a highlight for me. I feel genuinely blessed to share it with him. Just wait till Luca wants to go to the Main Door for autographs and selfies with the players! Hours spent in the wet and cold awaiting Broonie or Lenny or Rodgers became routine after Saturday games!


Suspect wee Luca will be following in your lads footsteps before long. And he’s a better tipster than me already!



A thing of beauty

All the discussion about our failure at producing first team players from our youth set up was quite a disheartening read back.
I’ve posted my thoughts on youth football in this country many times. We’re held back by the SFA and the self interest of the people who work there. It’s the same as the managerial merry go round. The same people who were failing the game at every level are still the same people involved in the game today. Bowling club mentality pervades every aspect of our game. As an example of this how can anyone justify having 40 professional clubs in a country of 5 million people. It just means lots of pishy footballers, playing other pishy footballers, producing a pishy game, in front of a pishy crowd that could fit in a pishy phone box. But it won’t change because people can’t bear to give up their standing in the game. The fact that our game is being held back by them is of no consequence. Until we have a maximum of 28 professional clubs in a two tier league we can expect more of the same.
Fortunately Jimbo and McCaff came to my rescue with tales of the next generation coming through to support the hoops. The chances of a boy playing for Celtic is one in millions but supporting the team is for everybody.
Thanks guys.


I haven’t been paying much attention to the World Cup but I have noticed online predictions from various England supporters stating Jude Bellingham will win them the tournament in the winter, then join Liverpool for a club record fee of 150 million plus in the summer.

Which begs the question, why didn’t Liverpool simply buy him from Birmingham as a seventeen year old and play him, just as Borussia Dortmund did? They could have reared their own star and earned a fortune upon his transfer, rather than forking out more than most Scottish clubs are worth on one single player.
I think the answer can be found in the book Soccernomics where there s a quote ” As oil is to the oil industry, so stupidity is to football.”



All good here now.

A German woman beside me today in a pub ordered a Lager and coke !!!!!

Not the white stuff !!!

Bizarre 😳😳😳😳

Seems it’s all the rage in Germany 🤪🤔🤔