By now we are all aware of Celtic’s brutal nine-game slate in the month of December. Given that crazy slate, manager Brendan Rodgers has had an interesting time putting together his Starting XI’s.
One thing that hasn’t really happened is Rodgers turning to any of the Celtic youth so far. Expect that to change according to the manager himself.
“This is what building a club is about, creating the hope for the youth players otherwise if they don’t think they can play, then why should you have an academy,” said Rodgers in the Brechin Advertiser.
“We have to develop young players here. That is how I have always worked but they have to be ready.”
“Not totally ready of course but they need to show the ingredients, that they can come in and play in the first team. That is very important to a big club.”
With an 11-point lead on Sevco and a matchup against the Scottish Premiership’s worst side, Partick Thistle, coming on Tuesday it seems to be the perfect time to go young for Celtic.
Rodgers clearly has a plan in place, and the good news is that it appears the first-team regulars are also on board with the long-term future of this club as well.
Starting central defender Eric Sviatchenko is amongst those players.
“Celtic are really keen on having young players coming through the ranks and if it is opportunities like now then I welcome them warmly,” Sviatchenko said.
The Danish defender also has a message for the young players who might get a chance on Tuesday and it has a lot to do with the team’s unbeaten run in domestic play.
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“It is a nice feeling to be on a run where we haven’t lost for 20 games now,” he said. “It is important for the confidence to grow, that every game we go into we know that we are difficult to beat.”
Perhaps the best bit of news is that captain Scott Brown is likely to feature after missing the game this past weekend on suspension. His experience should do well to keep a younger squad in check against Thistle.
Just who the actual youth players who will feature is unknown, but one has to believe names like Liam Henderson, Eoghan O’Connell and Kristoffer Ajer could all see some time along with the likes of young first-team stalwarts like Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembele too.
Don’t forget we could also see developmental squad players like forward Jack Aitchison and defender Anthony Ralston see the team sheet for this one. Ralston featured in a Betfred Cup match earlier this year, while Aitchison made history as the youngest player to ever feature for the first team last season.
It will be an interesting time on Tuesday night, but exactly what Celtic need for their immediate and long-term future. A good mix of today’s stars and a look at what could be ahead for a club that needs to cycle players in to the club instead of spending insanely to compete.
Let’s see what Rodgers’ staff has been able to do with some potentially great players in their short time at Paradise.