One of the many mysteries of football is why Anthony Ralston (now 24) was so far out the picture in the latter stages of Neil Lennon’s tenure. Kris Ajer, Moritz Bauer, Jeremie Frimpong and Jonjoe Kenny were all selected at right back ahead of him. When he was brought back into the fold by Ange Postecoglou his talent was clear to see.
He had earlier emerged in the procession of full backs that also contained Kieran Tierney (26) and Calvin Miller (25). I had high hopes for all three early on, although only Kieran went all the way to the top. Calvin is at the peak of his career and playing for Falkirk, while full Scotland international Anthony signed a new four-year contract at Celtic yesterday. When that contract concludes, if he is still with us, 11 years will have passed since his first Celtic league appearance, and he will still be only 29 years old. Perhaps not quite triggering the testimonial bandwagon.
Alongside Callum McGregor and James Forrest, he is a rare breed, someone who the club developed as a youth who went on to compete at Champions League level. He fits one of the four most difficult slots to fill in the Uefa squad list, so is well worth Celtic investing to retain and further develop him. He is also a Bellshill-born Celtic defender, which is quite a tradition to follow.