Anyone who saw Celtic at the weekend will have been impressed with the latest young player to break into the first team Jeremie Frimpong his attitude and performance on Saturday was outstanding. Neil Lennon spoke about him in his interview with Celtic TV earlier this week and also mentioned some of the other young players waiting in the wings as Celtic build for the future.
I bumped into Willie McStay a few weeks back at Celtic Park during half time of Celtic’s League Cup quarterfinal v Partick Thistle. Willie who knows a thing or two about Celtic and the type of young players required after being instrumental alongside Tommy Burns in creating the youth system we enjoy at Celtic today and the continuing stream of players who break into the first team from the development squad.
The night before Frimpong made his debut one of those products from Celtic’s youth system, Kieran Tierney made his Arsenal debut after his £25 million transfer to the Gunners. If social media is to be believed then the Arsenal fans are happy no matter what he has wrote on his boots it’s what in the boots that matter to them and although we didn’t want KT to leave, results have shown he has not been missed and I’m sure Willie will be following his career closely, while keeping an eye out for more young talent on his scouting missions.
When KT signed for Arsenal, Celtic fans who vented their anger at him used Willie’s brother Paul as the benchmark of a true Celtic Man who stayed with us through thick and thin when Europe’s top teams came knocking, McStay stayed.
While another success story from our youth system, James Forest took his place on the bench that night about the same time Willie was taking his seat in the main stand for a look at the latest player that he recommended to the club a young Dutch teenager by the name of Jeremie Frimpong brought to the club from Manchester City late in the transfer window. A player I must admit I had never heard of and with the pool of talent at City I am sure some of the City fans hadn’t paid much attention to him and wouldn’t have blinked an eye when he left.
Willie must have been smiling as he walked back into the lounge in the main stand for a half time cuppa; the kid had done well and impressed everyone. When I spoke to Willie he was smiling, I asked him about the young players brought in during the transfer window and he seemed very happy as he modestly tells me “ I’m happy with the players I recommended” he recommended Frimpong along with Luca Connell, Lee O’ Connell and Jonathan Afolabi.
Willie is forever travelling around Europe for international underage tournaments and his word is trusted within the walls of Celtic Park and around Lennoxtown. I like chatting to Willie and lets hope we can get him into Malone’s this season again for Celtic AM to discuss the young players coming through at Celtic.
Andrew Milne started More than 90 Minutes in 2001. He has written for numerous publications and online about Celtic. One of his essays featured in Celtic Minded 2 and he is a former newspaper columnist with the Daily Ireland and the man behind celticfanzine.com. He is host of Celtic AM pre-match events at Malone’s in Glasgow on match days and follows Celtic Home & Away. He is a season ticket holder for Celtic FC and the Republic of Ireland. He is also P.R.O. of St. Margaret’s CSC, a member of the Celtic Trust and the Celtic Graves Association.