Celts colts have every chance to shine, says Chris
CHRIS McCART believes that the current first-team environment is the ideal atmosphere for young players to step into.
The mix of encouragement along with an ability to keep feet firmly on the ground is the optimum arena for players looking to make the step from youth football to first-team action, according to McCart.
“It is not just sink or swim,” he explained. “The manager, our first-team staff and the captain, Scott Brown, all take a real interest in the academy and when players are moving up to train and play they really look after them.
“At the same time they also clip their wings if they feel as if they are getting above themselves. The culture right now is fantastic for any young player.
“You see that too with the likes of the young talent we have brought up from England such as Moussa [Dembele] and Patrick [Roberts]. We are seen as a club where young players will get the chance to play and develop under a manger who can improve them.
“The environment is perfect for academy players. They need to work hard, be dedicated, make sacrifices, but there is an opportunity here for them.”
Meanwhile, McCart believes that the late Tommy Burns would have been thrilled to see the way that Celtic’s academy has evolved over the last decade.
The club are always striving to compete with the best youth academies throughout Europe with coaches taking a keen interest in how others teams develop their youth.
It was Burns who brought McCart to Celtic to oversee the development of young players and he believes the former player and manager would have taken great delight in the overall holistic programme the Parkehad side have created.
“Tommy asked me to come in to assist him and even now I still feel that he is still a real icon here,” said McCart. “Tommy represents what Celtic is all about and I think he would be thrilled to see what the academy has become and how successful it has been.
“He would have been deeply proud of the work that we are doing. Academy work is about legacy – you don’t see the rewards immediately. It is long-term development and we have that in mind. It is great to win cups and leagues at this level but ultimately it is about creating players who can play first-team football.
“We inherited a fantastic set-up from Tommy [Burns] and it was always a case for me of continuing what he had started. It is always about sustainability.
“We are constantly looking to evolve and pick up the best practice. We are always striving to compete with other academies. We might not have the same financial muscle but we have the intellectual capital.
“We have a group there who have worked with the top talents in the game and there are no boundaries. Ultimately we believe in the process, in the holistic approach and the amount of time on the ball the get, but we are always looking to improve.”
Celtic head of youth development Chris McCart reckons Parkhead is the perfect place for youth talent to develop