Celtic youths

I watch Celtic U19’s matches most weeks on tv. Plenty of good talent coming through, especially Cillian Sheridan who myself and Bandage were discussing earlier. Anyway this is probably mostly of interest to bandage and thepiedpiper - it is Willie McStay’s guide to the new Under 19’s signed this year:

James Gilpin - 8/7/90 - 16

James is a goalkeeper from the North-East of England and was part of the Scotland set-up, although he went to School down South.

He Caught the eye of Stevie Woods whilst on international duty and we’re hoping he can progress to further things.

Brian McEwan - 11/6/89 - 17

A talented central defender, we’re looking for him to develop his game over the coming season.

Composed in posession, he also attacks the ball well and we hope Brian will continue his progress.

Mark Nolan - 10/5/90 - 16

A right-back we’ve signd from Shelbourne, Mark is the type of full-back we like at this club.

Paul Caddis played in that area last year and really progressed well, so we’re looking for Mark to do the same.

He stays on his feet, gets forward and goes beyond the wide players.

Simon Dunne - 13/1/90 - 16

A centre-back we signed from Shelbourne.

He was on trial last year and we were impressed but he suffered a serious injury last Christmas.

At that particular time we wanted to sign him and we followed that through.

Simon has a big physical presence and is comfortable in posession.

Carlo Monti - 10/7/90 - 16

Another Scotland Under 16 internationalist.

Carlo can play left full-back or wingback and has great ability.

He knows his first year will requre a lot of hard work but he has to keep progressing.

Eric Foley - 30/1/90 - 16

Eric is a Dublin boy and he is a talented midfield player.

He is a good passer of the ball and links play well, and it’s a big season for him.

All the kids have been on trial here and we know they are capable of.

It’s now a case of Eric coming in and developing his game.

Craig Connell - 16/4/90 - 16

Another player who has come through the system.

Craig is very versatile, He can play as an advanced midfield player and even a striker.

He’s got good ability, good technique and has great energy about him.

We’re looking for him to develop his game aswell.

Cillian Sheridan - 23/2/89 - 17

He’s a big striker we signed from Belvedere FC.

Another Dublin lad [size=1][actually he’s from Cavan I think - the rock67][/size], Cillian is 6ft-plus and is going to give us an alternative to what we have here.

Craig Beattie and Diarmuid O’Carroll are the only two strikers we’ve had with a physical presence and we are looking forward to Cillian’s development.

Kevin Cawley - 17/3/89 - 17

Kevin has come through the system here and is a bit of a Bobby Lennox look-a-like.

He’s very quick, has a great attitude and also an eye for goal.

He’s ot the biggest lad so he’ll have to keep developing his match awareness and will have to work hard to become powerful.

Michael Graham - 26/7/90 - 16

Again, Michael has came through the system and has been part of the Scotland set-up.

He was in the International Under 16 side last year and can play wide on the right or as a striker.

He knows the way to goal and we’re looking to develop his touch and link play.

Michael has great pace and will get goals for us.

Gary Livingstone - 21/12/90 - 16

Gary is a player who just missed the date of birth for a younger age group by one day so we’ve given him the oppurtunity to win himself a further contract after an intial year.

He is young and hasn’t physically developed as much as some of the other boys, but he works hard and deserves a chance to progress.

Cillian Sheridan is from Bailieboro in Cavan apparently.

Im hoping for big things from this bhoy. Hes the strength and physique of Jan and with The Beat perennially injured then theres a great opportunity for him to progress quickly through the ranks. Though my tips for greatness havent always been a mitigated success take Willo Flood for example.

From that U19 team Sheridan and Caddis (not featured above because he was in the squad last year) are the stars at the moment. Sheridan looks class at the moment but every time Willie McStay talks about him he reminds us that he’s still very raw and needs to work a lot on his all-round game. Still he’s showing great signs of progress and it was great to see him play for and score for the reserves - way ahead of schedule I’d imagine.

What a revelation this guy’s been. From the BBC:

Naylor takes October player award

Celtic left-back Lee Naylor has been named player of the month for October in the Scottish Premier League.

The 26-year-old, who signed for Celtic from Woverhampton Wanderers in the summer, helped the Glasgow club to five straight victories during the month.

Celtic only conceded three goals during those five games.

Maloney has suspended all contract negotiations with Celtic until January. That’s pretty ominous given he can speak to other clubs then before possibly leaving on a Bosman. I really hope it doesn’t come to that but that seems to be the way football is going. It would be almost Liam Miller like again seeing as the club rewarded him with a new contract after a serious injury. Fair enough he was Player of the Season last year but he needs to do it consistently before (allegedly) looking for massive wages.

On a brighter note McGeady sees his future at Celtic. From the Herald in Scotland:

MARTIN GREIG November 11 2006

Aiden Mcgeady’s relationship with a football has always been an intimate affair.

Even now, when his Celtic team-mates drift off for the day, the 20-year-old will slip away to a corner of Barrowfield with a ball under his arm and the afternoon stretching out before him.

A passion for the artful, creative aspects of the beautiful game has always informed his outlook. As a youngster, inspired by videos of Diego Maradona, McGeady would practise keeping up a tennis ball 500 times and a golf ball 200 times. DVDs of the Argentinian genius still line his shelves.

“People focus on the England game [when a Maradona-inspired Argentina won 2-1 against England in the quarter-final of the '86 World Cup], but I’ve got stuff of when he was growing up, aged 17 and 18, and he’s different class,” enthused McGeady.

“I love Ryan Giggs too. I’ve always liked players who were good at going past opponents.”

As a youngster, he instinctively knew that achieving mastery of a ball would allow him to express his natural talents. In the increasingly athletic world of professional football, it is testament to his resolve that he has not abandoned his passion for skills witness his mesmerising turn near the touchline against Falkirk last month. Thankfully, he is not alone.

Ronaldinho, the ultimate modern skills disciple, combines the required levels of physicality with electric spontaneity and a beguiling array of tricks. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Manchester United winger, announced last month that he had mastered a new trick and would unveil it in forthcoming matches.

Their influences have spread to top-level coaching, an acknowledgement that skills have more to offer than mere entertainment value.

At Old Trafford, a skills development coach, Dutchman Rene Meulensteen, is employed to bring about a fusion of British zeal and Brazilian flair in their young recruits, while other Premiership clubs have gone down a similar route. Celtic’s own prodigious academy has been quick to embrace the increased emphasis on ball skills, and McGeady’s legacy endures.

He references his coach at under-14 level, Martin Miller, as pivotal in the development of his ball skills. In turn, Miller, and other Celtic youth coaches, now indoctrinate pretenders to his throne with three variants of the “McGeady turn”. Twenty other skills practices are also taught in a welcome attempt to revive aspects of Scotland’s tanner ba’ players.

“It’s nice to see, it puts a smile on your face,” says McGeady of his army of acolytes in the club’s youth set-up. “When I was growing up, I always used to do those sort of things [tricks]. I still stay behind a lot after training and practice. Some people think ‘he’s just fannying about’ but, when you go past somebody, it’s great. People go to games to enjoy themselves after all.”

Yet McGeady’s individualist streak has also brought with it its own challenges, and a dawning realisation that it is not enough just to have magic in his toes and tricks up his sleeve. His head-to-head with Gary Neville in Celtic’s 3-2 defeat by Manchester United in the Champions League proved a chastening experience.

“You can really feel the difference in level moving from the SPL to the Champions League. You learn more about yourself,” he reflected.

"When I was playing against Neville I found it difficult to get on the ball. I always seemed to get the ball with my back towards the goal and never got a chance to run at him.

“But you have to remember that he’s been at the top level for 10-15 years. In games like that, you must learn what movements to make to get on the ball. If you have a bad game, you need to learn from it.”

It could be Gordon Strachan talking. The Celtic manager has worked diligently to add a much-needed dimension to McGeady’s play: to turn him into a rounded team player without blunting his creativity.

“I knew that when I played under Martin O’Neill I was far from the finished article,” he reflected. "I was young and trying to do too much on the ball. Now, the manager will regularly take me aside in training and show me the best ways of getting on the ball.

“I’ve added a lot to my game in terms of working hard to get back and creating chances for others. I know now that I can’t run with the ball every time I get it. I feel like a different player. I’ve made progress in important parts of my game and that’s down to Gordon Strachan and his backroom staff.”

As a footballer, Strachan was cut from the same cloth as McGeady; a bundle of creative energy with playmaking responsibility heaped upon his slim shoulders. Both share a single-minded streak, even a natural abrasiveness, which leads to the occasional locking of horns.

In the 1-0 win at Aberdeen in September, McGeady thought he played well. Strachan didn’t. The 20-year-old shrugs, a tacit acceptance that creative conflict is part and parcel of a dressing-room environment.

"Sometimes I come in and feel like I’ve played well, but he’ll pick up parts of my game that could have been better. You can feel disheartened at times . . . but it also shows that he has belief in me and wants me to improve. He is trying to get the best out of me and that can only be a good thing.

"Sometimes he shouts my name and I know what’s coming, but it’s usually because I’ve been out of position. Some people might think that I get it a bit more than other players, but it’s probably because I play wide.

He shouts at Naka [Shunsuke Nakamura] too, but the difference is that he doesn’t understand him!"

Celtic’s 1-0 away win against Falkirk at the start of October was a microcosm of how far he has come. After a disappointing first 45, he composed himself at half time, finally found form after the interval and duly scored a late winner.

“A year and a half ago, if I had started like I did against Falkirk then I would have gone on to have a beast of a game. But I just thought to myself at half time: ‘I’ll go for it again’ and it worked out well.”

Strachan’s preference for fast, expansive football has also allowed playmakers like McGeady, and Nakamura, to flourish. "We play a bit more to feet than under Martin O’Neill. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that because Martin had a lot of success. Before Jan [Vennegoor of Hesselink], we didn’t have a big target-man, so it was more to feet.

“That’s the way football should be played. We have a lot of good technical players now and the style suits the team. It’s great playing with guys like Naka because it encourages you to be on the same wavelength. He’s added an awful lot to the team.”

For a flair player, McGeady is no shrinking violet. Out of his training kit, he is deceptively muscular, a product of hours in the gym. In September’s Old Firm game, one of his first acts was to dive into a bonecruncher with Alan Hutton.

Alex Rae, the former Rangers midfield enforcer, will also testify to McGeady’s steel after losing his front tooth in a challenge with him back in January 2005.
"When I was younger I just got the ball and ran at players. Nothing more was expected of me.

No-one ever said to me: ‘You’re a good tackler’. But it’s expected of me now because I’ve shown that I’ve got that side to my game. I know I’m not the biggest, but you always want to hold your own on the pitch."

The 20-year-old started the season as the first-choice left midfielder but an ankle injury which coincided with the return of Shaun Maloney presented him with a fresh challenge. Competition for places, though, is nothing new.

"It’s difficult because it’s such a big club and they can just go out and buy a world-class player. I thought I was playing all right when the club bought Juninho and then I got bombed, although I did manage to get back in.

“It’s now all about being a regular in the team. And [staying in the team] is not about doing it in flashes, you have to be consistent. Having said that, it could be 0-0 with 15 minutes to go and you’re expected to pop up and do something. That’s fine, though. I’m happy with the pressure.”

(OBrien, 16, Bjarnason 48, Finnbogason 72)
(Murray, 11)

And so it goes on with impressive predictability. An eleventh straight win for Kenny McDowall’s side came at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium after the Hoops had to come from a goal behind.

Despite their shaky start they recovered to claim another emphatic win in a game that was played against a second-half backdrop of biting rain.

Yet, while the points will always be pleasing for Celtic regardless of what level the game is played at, the sight of John Kennedy would have pleased Gordon Strachan more than anything.

The defender continued his rehabilitation with a full 45 minutes, coming into the action after the break and a couple of crunching tackles will have done his confidence no harm at all. It is over two-and-half years since Kennedy was sidelined after his horror senior international debut at Hampden against Romania and as he edges ever closer to full fitness there is little sense in him now rushing his return.

His participation in the reserve outings has rightly been gradual but he showed no ill effects against Kilmarnock on a sodden pitch at the Excelsior Stadium.

Despite a couple of torrential showers, the game got the go-ahead after two pitch inspections, although underfoot conditions were a little treacherous on such heavy turf, with a couple of players losing their footing early on.

And Celtic were stunned to find themselves in the unusual position of chasing the match when Stephen Murray opened the scoring for Killie after just 11 minutes.

The little winger, who seems to have been on the periphery of the Rugby Park side for an age, was given acres of space on the left flank and was able to cut inside and fire a low shot well beyond the reach of David Marshall.

It was tough on McDowalls side who had made a decent start, but it wasnt long before they were back on level terms. Nicky Riley orchestrated the move before cutting the ball back across a deserted six-yard box for Jim OBrien to net an easy finish for his sixth goal of the season.

Derek Riordan came close to putting Celtic into the lead when he cut inside and tried an audacious swerving attempt that beat Alan Combe but flickered just wide of the post, but the former Hibernian star played a part in setting up the Hoops second of the afternoon.

Another heavy shower in freezing conditions was what met McDowalls side when they emerged from the dressing rooms but, not to be deterred, they stuck to their task and three minutes into the second-half Riordans delivery from the left caused all sorts of problems in the Killie defence before Teddy Bjarnason converted to put Celtic ahead.

Thomas Coyne, son of the former Celtic striker, started the game up front for Kilmarnock and used his physique to cause a few problems for the Celtic backline. He was well marshalled at the back but as conditions worsened in the second period both sides found it difficult to hold the ball up and pass it with any conviction.

It was Celtic who forged further ahead with Riley again instrumental in proceedings when he set up Kjartan Finnbogason for the Parkhead side’s third of the afternoon and five minutes later the midfielder almost got his name on the score-sheet but was denied by veteran keeper Alan Combe.

Finnbogason received a yellow card late on for aiming a kick at Killie’s Jamie Hamill - it could well have been a straight red - but it couldn’t dampen what was another comfortable afternoon for Celtic’s young reserve side.

CELTIC (4-4-2): Marshall; Reid, OCarroll, ODea, Richardson (Kennedy 46); Riley, Quinn, Bjarnason, Riordan; Finnbogason, OBrien. Subs: McGovern, Sheridan, Carey, McCafferty, Carey.
KILMARNOCK (4-4-2): Combe; Hamill, Adams, OLeary, Noble; Dodds, Ferguson (Flannigan 83), Leven, Murray; Digiacomo, Coyne. Subs: Logan, Donnelly, McGhee, Anson.

Lucky 13 for reserves
David Friel

Scottish Reserve League
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie

(Pearson 45, Finnbogason 50

RAMPANT Celtic continued their relentless march towards a sixth consecutive reserve league title with a 13th consecutive victory.

Goals from Stephen Pearson and Kjartan Finnbogason allowed Kenny McDowalls side to maintain their astonishing 100 per cent record for the season.

With nine reserve league games remaining, Celtic are now only eight points away from matching last seasons 47-point championship winning haul.

Another plus point on a positive day for the Hoops was the sight of full-back Mark Wilson completing over 80 minutes of the match, as he steps up his return to full fitness following a lengthy spell out with a foot injury.

Reserve boss McDowall fielded a relatively young side, although Wilson, Pearson and David Marshall did add some experience to the line-up.

St Mirrens starting XI contained a few familiar faces, with first-team squad members Garry Brady, Alex Burke, Stewart Kean and Kevin McGowne using this match to top up their fitness.

With tackles flying in, the game started in competitive fashion and it was the visitors who created the first chance. Mark Corcoran fed Kean and he smashed a ferocious right-foot drive off the bar.

Celtic, with Pearson imposing himself in midfield, hit back and Teddy Bjarnasons inch-perfect crossfield pass picked out Finnbogason, but his close-range effort was blocked by Buddies No.1 Chris Smith.

Jim OBrien was next to try his luck with a snap-shot from the edge of the box, while Pearson was inches away from latching on to Finnbogasons neat lay-off.

Burke and Kean were looking lively for the Saints and the latter came close with a deft chip from the edge of the box in 25 minutes, which sailed inches over the bar.

Celtic then conjured up their best chance of the game with a wonderful flowing move. Nicky Riley fed Pearson and he combined superbly with Darren ODea and Ryan Conroy. The full-back sped down the wing and picked out Finnbogason, but his point-blank shot was saved by Smith.

Minutes later, Pearson gathered Finnbogasons flick-on and, with only Smith to beat, he rattled a volley off the base of the post. With the danger still not cleared, Wilson picked out Finnbogason and his firm header was again kept out by Smith.

With Celtic now dominant, Bjarnason wriggled into space and tested Smith with a low shot, before the Hoops finally made the breakthrough seconds before half-time.

After a period of intense pressure, the ball was rolled to Pearson at the edge of the box and he fizzed a left-foot drive into the bottom corner, which gave the outstanding Smith no chance.

Five minutes after half-time, it was 2-0. McGowne was penalised for a rash challenge on OBrien and from Conroys free-kick, Finnbogason supplied a deft head-flick to grab his sides second of the afternoon.

Finnbogason was clearly in the mood for more and stung Smiths palms with a searing drive from the edge of the box. OBrien was then agonisingly close to converting Conroys cutback after another flowing move.

Pearson could have added a third late in the game. Substitue Diarmuid OCarroll raced down the right but his superb cross was touched over the bar by the midfielder. Riley also threatened with a header.

This was another superb performance from the young Celts, who show no sign of letting up their quest for more silverware.

The back four, superbly marshalled by ODea, dealt comfortably with everything St Mirren threw at them, while in midfield, Rocco Quinn and Pearson were dominant.

Riley had another good game on the right flank, while OBrien and Icelandic striker Finnbogason caused the experienced St Mirren rearguard a lot of problems.


CELTIC (4-4-2) Marshall; Wilson (Caddis 83), Reid, ODea, Conroy; Riley, Quinn, Pearson, Bjarnason; OBrien (McGlinchey 71), Finnbogason (OCarroll 81)
Subs: Fox, Millar, Fox

ST MIRREN (4-4-2) Smith; McAusland, McGowne, Maxwell, McCay; McKenna, Malloy (McGinn 64), Brady (McGinn 64) Corcoran; Burke (Anderson 87), Kean
Subs: McMenamin

No John Kennedy which might be a concern. Itll be super to have Mark Wilson back too.

I see Pearos agent is quoted as saying Strachan will sell him to Sunderland for 1m in January. That seems like good business to me.

Noticed that about Kennedy but I don’t mind him taking his time - if he gets any time with the first XI this season at all it will be a huge bonus. Imagine not playing football for 3 years and being expected to go out and pick it all up again where you left off? He’ll be very rusty for ages. That said I watched him play for the reserves last week and he put in 2 or 3 crunching tackles which bodes very well for his mental recovery if nothing else.

I’d bite anyone’s hand off for 1m for Pearson.

3-1 to the reserves today away at Inverness. That’s 14 from 14 this season - an incredible record. Scorers today were O’Brien, Riley and Finnbogasson.

McManus is out of the game on Sunday so O’Dea is certain to start. He’s been captaining the reserves to their 100% win record at the age of 19 so deserves his chance to try and hold down a place. In fairness to Strachan if he plays well enough he’ll probably keep his place and you can’t argue with that. It’s a positive development for Ireland too to have a 19 year old centre half get some Champions League and SPL experience.

Translated story from Icelandic newspaper Morgunblai this morning:

Kjartan and Theodor to Djurgarden?

Kjartan Henry Finnbogason and Theodor Elmar Bjarnason who play for Celtic in Scotland top Siggi Jonssons shortlist of players he would like to bring to his new club, Djurgarden. Swedish newspaper Aftenbladet says Siggi will try to sign the duo when their contracts at Celtic run out in the summer when the season ends in Scotland.

Kjartan told Morgunblai that he knows nothing of the reported Djurgarden interest but says his future at Celtic could be resolved next week.

Myself, Theodor and Olafur Gardarson, our agent, will meet Celtic next week to disucuss our future but I dont know what the outcome will be.

I have played 5 reserve games this season and scored 5 goals after being out injured for the last year and a half. Its been great to come back after all that time and I would love to stay here at Celtic. The club has stood by me like a rock during my time out injured and I would love to stay and show them what I am capable of.

Today’s reserve game. Fair play to Thommo for maintaining his professionalism, credit to Riordan too and also fantastic to see JFK and Cuthert starting at the back. WE DON’T WANT OR NEED PRESSLEY:

(Thompson 65, Riordan 95)
(Benjelloun 15, Morrow 61)

DEREK RIORDAN curled home a last-gasp free-kick to secure a draw as Celtic reserves maintained their unbeaten run in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Goals from Adessalem Benjelloun and Sam Morrow gave the Edinburgh side 2-0 up, before Alan Thompson reduced the deficit with a wonder goal.

Celtic pressed for an equaliser and it arrived five minutes into injury-time when Riordan came back to haunt his former employers with a fine low strike.

With second-placed Dundee Uniteds match against St Mirren falling victim to the horrendous weather, Celtic lie 16 points clear at the top of the Scottish Reserve League. Surely only a major collapse will prevent a sixth consecutive title at this level.

McDowalls men have a two-month winter break until their next league match, which is scheduled to be against Aberdeen on February 6. Given that, after just 15 matches, they are just four points off last seasons 22-game title-winning total, the young Celts can be proud of their work since the start of the campaign.

After a morning of driving rain, the weather brightened up for the start of this match, with a glint of sunlight even appearing through the dark clouds. It remained bitterly cold, although the playing surface looked perfect.

Ahead of Sundays derby match with Rangers at Ibrox, first-team squad members Riordan, Evander Sno and Stephen Pearson were given a run-out to top up their fitness. John Kennedy also started his first match since making his return from injury and lasted almost 80 minutes in an impressive display.

Hibs, who fielded a sprinkling of first-team stars, were deprived of possession in the early stages, but converted the first chance of the game in 15 minutes. Morrow won possession in midfield and fed Benjelloun. The Moroccans strikers finish was clinical.

Celtic, with Thompson starting passing moves from a deep-lying midfield position, responded well and Pearson and Kjartan Finnbogason both came close.

Hibs defender Chris Hogg then received a yellow card for a cynical tackle on the Icelandic striker raced in on goal, but Riordans free-kick was saved easily by Andrew McNeil.

Thompson almost released the former Hibs striker with a pinpoint pass, before Kennedy saw a goalbound header deflected over for a corner. From the resultant set-piece, Riordans fierce drive landed on the roof of the net.

Dean Shiels forced David Marshall into a finger-tip save as Hibs searched for a second goal, while Hogg blazed over from close-range. Merouane Zemamma then tried an audacious effort from the wing, which Marshall did well to keep out.

As the break approached, Celtic almost grabbed an equaliser. Thompson skipped past Morrow and picked out Riordan, but his effort flashed past the upright with McNeil well beaten.

McDowall introduced Jim OBrien and Scott Fox for Marshall and Rocco Quinn at half-time. Riordan dropped back into midfield, with OBrien partnering Finnbogason up front.

With the weather deteriorating, conditions were not conducive to good football. Celtic strived to maintain their passing game but chances were scarce in early stages of the second period.

Kennedy was booked for a challenge on Shiels on the hour-mark and minutes later Hibs were 2-0 ahead. Morrow danced past three defenders, raced into the box and his finish crashed past Fox with the aid of a deflection.

It was perhaps harsh on Celtic but they responded in the best possible fashion. Thompson, surging forward from midfield, let fly from 25 yards and found the top corner to bring the Hoops back into the match.

With OBrien causing Hibs problems with his pace, Celtic dominated the rest of the match. Riordans deft chip was cleared off the line and Pearson also threatened.

The elusive goal finally arrived deep into injury-time and it was worth the wait. Sno was pole-axed on the edge of the box and Riordan slotted his 20-yard strike past the diving McNeil.

CELTIC (4-4-2) Marshall (Fox 46); Reid, Cuthbert, Kennedy (Riley 78), Conroy; Quinn (OBrien 46), Thompson, Sno, Pearson; Riordan, Finnbogason
Subs: McGlinchey, Caddis
HIBS (4-4-2) McNeil, McCann (Campbell 62), Hogg, Konde, Glass; McCluskey, Shiels, Lynch, Zemamma, Benjelloun, Morrow (Smith 62)
Subs: McCormack, Grof

Pity we couldn’t keep up the 100% but that looks like a great point earned. FIrst game Finnboggason hasn’t scored in for a while I think. They’ve plenty of first teamers out there in Glass, Shields, Zemmama, Benji etc.

Delighted to see both Cuthbert and El Presidento playing.

Scott Cuthbert went out on loan to Livingston yesterday. Good move because he hasn’t played many games this season and the reserve league is on a break until February so it will get him some game time. He played today I think.

Reserve team coach Kenny McDowall has moved to the Huns to become a coach there. Strange move that…

That’s very odd. He’s been doing an excellent job and thought he’d only move to become a manager in one of the lower league teams. Coach at the huns…weird.

Diarmud O’Carroll has moved to Ross County on loan (Michael Gardyne is there already on loan). Good move - see if he can score goals at that level first.

Various bits of old Celtic news here but it starts off with youth stuff so I’m posting it here.

McStay is new Celtic reserve coach
MARTIN GREIG January 12 2007

WILLIE McSTAY: Has already enjoyed success with Celtic youth players
Celtic have appointed Willie McStay as their reserve team coach following Kenny McDowall’s departure to Rangers. McStay has been promoted from his role as youth team coach and will seek to continue the success achieved by McDowall.

McDowall, who was announced as Rangers’ first-team coach on Wednesday, led the reserves to the last five league titles. McStay also achieved unparallelled success at youth level, leading the under-19s to four successive titles. He has overseen the emergence of young talents such as David Marshall, Aiden McGeady, Shaun Maloney and John Kennedy.

He has been involved in Celtic’s youth system for more than a decade after having been head-hunted by then manager Tommy Burns in 1994. Prior to that, he managed Sligo Rovers to a treble of the Irish first division title, the first division Shield and the FAI Cup.

Alan Thompson was still in talks with Leeds United last night over a move to Elland Road. The Celtic midfielder was in Yorkshire for a medical and is likely to sign today.

Thompson earns an estimated 28,000-a-week and his removak from the wage bill, will be a boost for Celtic manager Gordon Strachan as he hunts new targets.

Stephen Pearson already has left for Derby County this week in a 750,000 deal. David Marshall could also be set to leave Parkhead on a loan deal to Norwich.

Celtic and Rangers both have made informal inquiries about Hamilton Accies youngster James McCarthy. However, the 16-year-old is the subject of official interest from Liverpool, Reading and now Chelsea. The Stamford Bridge club are the latest to show an interest in the youngster, who has made 11 top-team appearances this season.

Celtic are on the brink of completing the appointment of John Park, the Hibernian youth academy director, to front scouting and development at their new Lennoxtown training centre.

An official announcement is expected soon on the move which will see Park take up a key role in bringing through future talent for the Parkhead club. The coach has an impressive track record and is heavily credited in the success of players such as Derek Riordan, Garry O’Connor, Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Steven Whittaker.

Celtic have been in negotiations over the switch for some time and Peter Lawwell, the club’s chief executive, will take satisfaction in finally securing a deal. Park was also wanted by West Bromwich Albion, whose manager, Tony Mowbray, enjoyed the fruits of his labours when in charge at Easter Road.