40 years since an iconic striker youth graduate


Notwithstanding we had four strikers isolating and that under most circumstances, four strikers would be sufficient, the games against Hibs and Livingston highlighted a long-term problem.  Celtic have been able to produce wingers, defenders and midfielders who have become first choice starters in the first team, but we are unable to produce a striker.

In the last 20 years, Craig Beattie is arguably our most successful striker-graduate from the youth system (gulp), and he moved on having scored 13 goals for the club, the kind of return Leigh Griffiths may have hoped for in a month, a few years back.

Gerry Creaney made his debut 31 years ago and spent a couple of seasons as a regular starter, before eventually playing Premier League football for Manchester City (it was a different world back then, kids), but Gerry was nowhere near a top performer at the club.

It is now over 40 years since the last iconic striker, Charlie Nicholas, came through the youth system to electrify Celtic Park for three seasons.  He returned for a five-year spell later, when he largely stood on the same spot every 90 minutes, before working out some deep therapeutic issues as a media pundit in later years.

40 years and we were unable to produce a striker with the talent of Leigh Griffiths, despite many changes in coaches, systems and first team budgets?  This sounds unlikely.  I suspect the opportunities afforded to the young Leigh at Livingston were denied to hundreds of Celtic youth strikers.


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  1. What is the Stars on

    Dont forget the supposedly true story of an encounter between the Gestapo and Picasso





    a Gestapo officer who had barged his way into Picasso’s apartment pointed at a photo of the mural, Guernica, asking: ‘Did you do that?’ ‘No,’ Picasso replied, ‘you did’,

  2. PAUL67



    Poor article about young OKO-FLEX missing a chance against Livi.



    Hope the lad doesn’t read here and feel you should delete the same.

  3. Since Nicholas, not exactly a pantheon of Celtic greats,pretty shocking re finding and developing young strikers…….

  4. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Is Wee Jimmy Forest our most recent fairly prolific homegrown player?

  5. Can’t think of too many to dispute the point Paul.



    Shaun Maloney is probably as close as it might get….

  6. Big Wavy



    Sadly Howe, or any self respecting coach with a career to manage, would not entertain it.

  7. Thoyght Burchill was gonna be a superstar and iconic, sadly fell away big time..Tony Watt also..neither of them fulfilled early promise.

  8. Andy Patons Mullet on

    Confirms the ignorance to developing players in our set up. Hopefully with a structural clear up about to take place at CP our next manager will raise the coaching skills of everyone too and we can see at least one striker coming through the ranks thats home grown.

  9. Drew1967,



    I played against Murk Burchill in the Glasgow Cup around 95-96 when I was at Partick Thistle. We were both 15 playing under 18s and he was unbelievably good. He was the only player anyone was talking about – Jamie Smith and Stephen Crainey were also in the team. There were dozens of scouts at that game all looking at one player, Burchill,



    He was to be the Scottish Michael Owen and honestly, at the time the comparisons were warranted. Had a decent career but nothing like what was expected.




  10. BTW- I have no problem at all with Armstrong-Okoflex being unhappy about his game time and letting the management know.



    I twas using social media to express his frustration that was his only mistake.



    We persuaded him to leave the Arsenal academy and come hereto take his chances. He has looked promising but we have not been a club that has been able to blood youngsters easily because of the pressure of the 10. Two guys who did make it had to fo out on lona tpo get game time (Calmac and Ajer). Only James Forrest has been talented enough to make the breakthrough while staying here. I still have high hopes for Mikey J , in a winger’s role but the jury is still out for most of the support that do not see how good he is at training and the esteem his team mates hold him in.



    The one thing I will say in Okoflex’s favour is that he does seem to have been using and benefiting from gym work more than some others.

  11. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Where has the Eddie Howe rumour sprung from – anyone know?



    Is it just click-bait / bookies seeking to part cash from punters / or is there a single word from anyone connected to either of the parties (Celtic or Howe) that would give any credence whatsoever to this?



    Anything? A single sentence?? Even a hint???



    Or is it in the same bracket as that £7.2 million French Striker we are keeping tabs on?








  12. Would like to see as many players and leaders too as poss come thru not just forwards tbh.guys that no the history and values of our club unlike some of our present players.

  13. Paul 67,



    I quick search of our reserves shows three strikers


    Adam Montgomery is the only one not tried in the last couple of games.


    However he has not played this season.



    Even during the ” bad times” we had some tremendous strikers.



    We pride ourselves of playing the Celtic way.


    What has happened?




  14. Burnley78,



    Let’s see. There appears to be enough ‘noise’ that change is coming and Howe is being touted by a few folk who will be shot to pieces if it doesn’t come off.



    I’ve been looking into him in anticipation and he ticks a lot of boxes – professionalism, grows young players, tries to use every modern trick to advance us. All the sorts of things we need to be adopting.



    Someone of that ilk is where I think we need to go – not a Keane, O’neill or McCarthy type who strike me as fixed on yesteryear.




  15. We got an insight into the utter failure of Lennoxtown to improve young players on Saturday.


    We had no strikers due to the Dubai debacle and the complete failure of Covid protocols as our forwards were not in separate bubbles. A totally unfit and disinterested Rogic was a disastrous choice at number 9.


    There were no options available from the reserves to play as striker. None.


    One young player came on as sub. He has been at Lennoxtown for years. He did not look like a striker, did not appear to know the position tactically nor have the positioning or awareness you would expect. His running style was awful. Any decent sprint coach would have altered this as a priority.


    Root and branch reform is urgently required at all levels.

  16. Go tell the Spartim on




    I think it’s an option we should try based on the unconvincing, not giving up on them, form of our current incumbents

  17. BGFC,



    I’ve seen it from a couple of folk who (online) do seem to have a decent track record.



    It’s also being mirrored officially too (bookies, MSM) so appreciate hard to pin down fact or fiction.







    Nice one mate .did you know Ricky Roaghan the first team kit man at thistle.great man and a Celtic man at heart.sadly passed away a few years ago

  19. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Haven’t read the Oko-Flex article so can’t comment.



    Felt sorry for the young man on Saturday (evening, not when it happened).



    If you watch his movement he checked his stride A FRACTION just as Ralston’s cross reached (and evaded) the first defender.



    Otherwise a tap in from four yards.



    Just inexperience.



    As to your wider observation Paul – hardly surprising for me.



    The most difficult thing to do in football (and always has been) is sticking the ball in the pokey.



    Radical coaching solution?


    (Hold your nose).



    Bring in Billy Dodds to coach our young strikers.



    Over the last 32 years (since I saw him play for Partick Thistle against Celtic in the Scottish Cup) …



    … I can think of no better example of a striker of such limited talent going on to have a successful goal scoring career.



    Largely achieved through hard work and honing instincts.



    His introduction to his new charges?



    “Learn from me. Because if I can make it as a striker, you certainly can!”



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  20. I remember the days when KOJO would give us an insight RE our youth players.


    Subsequently and Collectively CQN was quite well informed of what we had in the background.



    His mantle was never picked up.



    HH to all. N&V.

  21. The lack of any home grown strikers is definitely a problem.



    When you think of some of the duds we have paid money for in the last twenty years – Rasmussen, Balde, Bayo, Scepovic, Ciftci, Bangura, Kazim Richards and even those we brought in on loan – Brozek, Lassad, Miku etc, surely we could have promoted and persevered with a few youngsters instead ?



    If none were deemed of the appropriate standard, what is going on with our scouting / coaching?



    I may be mistaken but I think Ross McCormack was with celtic as a youth before jumping the dyke to old rangers?




  22. Interesting article Paul.


    I read a few months ago in the Guardian, that quite a few Championship and League 1 clubs in England have closed their academy, as they were not getting enough players coming through to first team. The cost of running them was not worth it.

  23. I’d love if Martin returned to the Club in a senior position, scouting D of F -something like that.


    If the current malaise is systemic……… I think we’d benefit from a wise football head with an understanding of the English football landscape, an understanding of Celtic and a credible figure in football ( even taking into account his age).



    Martin was another Hunskelper and we can never have too many of those, whether in the team or in the background.



    Culture Vs Strategy CSC

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