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

    BIG WAVY on 18TH JANUARY 2021 12:44 PM



    Cheers – I was just wondering if I had missed something. Anytime I have heard Howe speak, he seems to be exactly the type of manager we need. Good experience, committed to good coaching, modern practices, sports science, hard work, progress, detail, clear style(s) of play, improvement of individual players, etc.



    As mentioned above – someone who fits that profile is what we need. Will struggle to get one IF PL’s reputation is, or at least is seen as, a barrier to the manager’s control of his own area of responsibility.






  2. Depressed and dejected … Any sign of hope. And sign of anything because we seem to not be doing very much expect touting eddy to EPL for a cut price 24/26 million it seems !

  3. WITS and others



    This is one of the great “b” sides of any record that I know. Written bu Mike Batt and sung by Katie Melua.



    Market Day in Guernica.







    My children played a skipping game


    On market day in Guernica


    On market day before they came


    Before they came to Guernica.



    I search my soul but cannot start


    To find forgiveness in my heart,


    My little ones no longer play


    In Guernica on market day.



    My father wore his linen suit


    On market day in Guernica


    He always sold the finest fruit


    Before they came to Guernica.



    Now there’s no way to let him know


    How much I loved and miss him so


    I watched as he was blown away


    In Guernica on market day.







    All blown away.



    My children played a skipping game


    On market day in Guernica


    On market day before they came


    Before they came to Guernica.



    I search my soul but cannot start


    To find forgiveness in my heart,


    My little ones no longer play in Guernica


    On market day.

  4. Eddie Howe might open the office at Lennoxtown, with 40k worth of sport science equipment in it,been gathering dust since BR left




    Would have Martin back too tho not as 1st team coach/manager.No sure he’s got the same desire for that but def in some senior advisory role.. or maybe as you say D.O.F

  6. Just had a nosey at the links going back to 2014 “Textbok away performance” where the name of a fitire star is highlighted.



    Hand up if you remember the name…Mubarak Wakaso

  7. BIG WAVY on 18TH JANUARY 2021 12:44 PM





    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.







    What source?site?




  8. We all loved Martin but he should be left as part of the fabric of our history. The world of football has moved on so much since the noughties he’d look a relic to the young guys of today.



    Time to look forward.




  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on



    shaun maloney, simon donnelly, james forrest, mark burchill



    common factor?



    all wee waifs who fall over when the wind changes direction



    our youth scouting and training philosophy needs to change so we start producing players with a bit of presence about them





    Amen to that.



    For all the methodology in modern football first requirement (IMHO) is to manage contact.



    Back in the day it was called winning your battles.



    We are collectively dreadful at it (bizarre given the kind of player our current manager was).



    I recall a situation probably three years in to Martin O’Neill’s reign.



    Trophy day.



    Under 21s paraded their league trophy.



    U-19s likewise.



    The u-19s were much bigger and meaner looking that the 21s.



    I assumed at the time it was down to Martin’s influence on what the conveyer belt was producing.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Not exactly limited to strikers – our youth progression has been awful as a whole.


    Would like to see a Director of Football who would develop a football style and culture and ensure that coaching, recruitment and the academy work in harness with one another.


    Specific players with specific skillsets. No more random, agent-promoted punts. And if there is someone in the academy ready to step up then go there first.

  11. Shaun Maloney had an excellent time at Wigan but Martinez said it took 6 months to build his physique up to what was needed in the PL.



    It was noticeable – the change Maloney looked like a rugby scrum half after this work.



    I wouldmn’t be surprised if something similar has gone on with Stuart Armstrong. He’s doing very well at Southampton after an indifferent start.

  12. P67 — Not sure that CN was a full on No.9.


    More the intelligent half of a twin striker arrangement.


    Consequently closer to AMcG and SM when they have been played as a full on No.10.



    No matter the hair splitting — our youth set up has underperformed for a number of years now.


    They have the excuse that the country has been poor at this in the 21st century.



    We have the specifics of the St Ninians generation.


    The failure to spot talent only size when looking at the age groups.


    Plus too many fans on the sidelines and in the teams.



    Hopefully now that change is on its way it will look into this area as well.


    Gossip suggests that the irrationality extends into the nickel and dime scale of our youth teams.


    Not a great place to be.

  13. Pingback: 40 years since an iconic striker youth graduate | Celtic FC News Now

  14. Drew – I think when re-building, some of the old foundations might need to be retained.


    The First Team role looks like it needs someone who is just…either Good , Lucky or preferably both.



    Change should be gradual so that it is manageable but the manager needs to be moved on with his coaching staff in a timely fashion.



    The backbone of the Club will take time. If the 10 is gone ( I know, I know) a couple of years to get the big things right is fine imo. I’d rather take the hurt, but get over it quicker. That’s why I can see Peter around for a while yet. In fact I’d make him work to ensure a reasonable and solid transition was achieved.



    Imo, some of those calling for immediate total clearouts and blood on the carpets really just want us crippled quickly and comprehensively for their own enjoyment.




  15. Surely AMcI should get a mention — made it out to the Bundesliga.


    Also the article about AO is a disgrace — tabloid tripe and not worthy of publication.

  16. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Interesting (?) parallel with Rugby Union.



    New Zealand don’t have formal age groups from the outset.



    Young players are grouped by size.



    No sense having a 13-year old unshaven South Sea islander charge through pre pubescent white boys at training or in games.



    No one learns anything.



    The wee boys lose motivation.



    The big lads eventually come up against equally big lads they can’t charge through.



    Simplistic … but the net result ?



    Second row forwards like Sam Whitelock with hands of velvet.



    Scrum halfs like Aaron Smith who can tackle like tigers.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith

  17. Artists is it?.


    Van Gogh went to the local drapers looking for a new hat


    The assistant showed him some and told him to pick one.


    After a while he shouted down to him asking if he had found a suitable hat yet?



    Van Gogh shouted back to him ” yes I’m taking this one ear!!”





  18. Paul 67


    Good article


    Imho we should dump our you system, as we are getting no more regular starters than we were 10/20 years ago.


    I would


    Set up a community style club for u11 to 18


    Set up an U23 team playing in a competitive environment eg buy an English conference or League 2 club


    Put some investment into one or two other Scottish clubs (eg lend them coaches) in return for the right to buy at agreed fees


    Keep trying to pick up talent from England. As clubs in EPL increasingly bring in global talent, we can provide a pathway for English talent.

  19. I must agree with Philbhoy at 12.23, the article about Oko-Flex is uncalled for. Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down. I’ve no doubt he knows just how much potential he has and I’ve equally no doubt he knows just how bad his miss was. I doubt that he needs keyboard warriors to remind him, however. Poor stuff.

  20. …and meant to add, Martin will always be an intelligent Tim, with appropriate grasp of the communications remit and an equally appropriate disdain for scoddish hackdom.



    His hunskelping credentials are just a bonus.




  21. In ither news…………..



    Hunbelievably there’s no “reported” cases at The Dilapidated Edwardian Toilet Block…………….




  22. Very Cowardly of you Paul that you go after young Oko Flex when the elephant in the room is your bestest Buddy Peter and his henchman …….Another squirrel

  23. Glasstwothirds at 1:19



    Excellent point re DoF and having a strategic view of squad and youth progression.



    I’d add our recruitment into that. We must recruit to demand. Currently, we seem to buy players who are available. Whether we need them or can accommodate them is very often questionable



    I hope this season is our low water mark and we use this opportunity to recalibrate and go again.



    Onwards and upwards.

  24. CCB @ 1.33



    The network approach should be implemented ASAP.



    We have done some work in this area — Norway or do we just have a good scout?


    We should be putting out coaches on scholarships to work in the lower divisions / even the juniors.



    We need to work the Ireland / 32 counties angle better.


    There are huge amounts of youth talent in the US with limited opportunities.


    You could combine it with higher education in Glasgow.



    Iran — the flag is the right colour / the head political honcho went to the Tech.


    Bit of keepie uppie diplomacy now that DT is history.


    We would never be off Newsmax / Fox News.



    Plus make links with lower league clubs in England — if our youth couldn’t help a team into the Championship then they shouldn’t be thinking of playing for us.



    The problem is the (0mill of CL money that we have lost in the past three years.


    Plus a CEO that wouldn’t know a growth agenda if it came up and bit him on the erse.

  25. Re Oko Flex


    If you listened to Darren O Dea on commentary, I would suggest his comments about Oko Flex not lacking confidence, and making no mention of any talent, or what to expect from him is far more scathing than anything from Paul 67.

  26. The Battered Bunnet on

    Haven’t we pretty much always bought our strikers? King Kenny and Nicholas are the only ones I can think of, and we signed Kenny when he left school.



    From Stevie Chalmers and Willie Wallace to Frank McGarvey and Brian McClair to Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton, other than those fleeting few mentioned in Paul’s article, I can’t think of a Celtic youth player who has made a career at the club as striker.

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