Celtic F.C. Under-20s and Academy

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Celtic Development Squad
Celtic FC.svg
Full name Celtic Development Squad
Nickname(s) The Bhoys
Founded 1888
Ground Cappielow Park
Ground Capacity 11,589
Head Coach Tommy McIntyre
League SPFL Development League
2016–17 SPFL Development League, 3rd

Celtic Football Club was formed in 1887, and since its earliest days has also run a reserve team, primarily to assist the blending of younger players into the first team. A number of successful footballers have emerged from the reserves. The most well known grouping of reserve players were the so-called Quality Street Kids who emerged in the 1960s, the most prominent of whom were Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain. Reserve football in Scotland has gone through various reorganisations over the years, and Celtic currently run U20 and U17 sides in conjunction with their first team.

History of reserve and youth football[edit]

Reserve football[edit]

Celtic ran a reserve side from their early days, known at the time as the Crusaders. Other clubs in the 1880s also gave their reserve sides distinctive names, with Rangers calling their Second XI the Swifts, and Queens Park naming their reserves the Strollers.[1]

Celtic's first known involvement in reserve league football, was their participation in the Scottish Combination league in 1896. Several Scottish League clubs fielded 2nd XIs ('A' sides), as well as Queens Park Strollers.[2] However, by the 1900s Celtic manager Willie Maley was only using a small, if versatile, squad of players, and the decision was made to stop fielding a reserve team altogether.[3] In 1909, a new Scottish Reserve League was set up, again often including at least one non-reserve side of a non-league club in each of its seasons.[2] Celtic did not participate.[4] The league was disbanded during World War 1, but effectively re-established in 1919 as the Scottish Alliance League. As with previous incarnations, this reserve league also contained the first XI of several non-league sides.[2] Celtic took part for the first few seasons, and won the championship in 1921–22, however withdrew again after that for what is presumed were financial reasons.[3] This appeared an unwise decision. Rangers went on to dominate Scottish football in the 1920s, and Celtic appeared to struggle without a reserve team to help blend younger players into the club's first team.[3]

The club did re-introduce a reserve team in 1930, and won three Alliance championships in 1934, 1937 and 1938, and the Second XI Cup in 1935 and 1936.[5] Malky MacDonald, Johnny Crum, George Paterson, Jimmy Delaney, John Divers and Willie Buchan all emerged during this time from the reserve side and went on to form the nucleus of the Celtic first team that won the league championship in 1936 and 1938, and the Scottish Cup in 1937.[5] In 1936, Celtic fielded trialist Mohammed Salim in two Alliance league matches, with him becoming the first footballer from the Indian sub-continent to play for a European club.[6] A league AGM in 1938, resulted in the non-league sides being removed and the league became exclusive to First Division reserve sides. The advent of World War 2, however, once again saw the suspension of national reserve league football in Scotland, although regional leagues were set up.[2][7]

The national Reserve League restarted at the end of the war, once again mirroring the sixteen club top-tier division. The subsequent years into the 1950s saw various changes to the leagues, but Celtic's achievements at reserve level were undistinguished, with two fourth place finishes in 1952 and 1954 their highest positions.[7] The Scottish (Reserve) League was set up in 1955, again mirroring the First Division although there were a number of seasons when not all of those clubs took part. This set-up, with minor variations, continued up until 1975.[2] Jock Stein's appointment in 1957 as reserve team coach saw an upturn in Celtic's commitment to reserve team football. Future star players such as Pat Crerand, Billy McNeill, John Clark and Bertie Auld all emerged at Celtic during this time. The reserves won the Second XI Cup in 1958 (thrashing Rangers 8–2 on aggregate) and the reserve league title a year later.[7] From 1958 up to 1966, Celtic also fielded a reserve side (effectively a 3rd XI) in the Combined Reserve League.[8] Although Stein left in 1960 to manage Dunfermline Athletic,[9] promising players continued to emerge from the reserves, such as Bobby Murdoch, Jimmy Johnstone and George Connelly.[7]

The mid 1960s saw the emergence of one of Celtic's most notable reserve sides, a group that became known as the Quality Street Kids. Several became regulars in the first-team side, winning major honours and going on to represent Scotland at full international level, most notably Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain.[10] In August 1968, the reserves needed to defeat Partick Thistle F.C. by at least seven goals to win their Reserve League Cup group section; Celtic won 12-0, with Lou Macari scoring four goals.[7] That same year, the Celtic reserves played the Scotland national football team in a practice match; the young Celtic won 5–2.[11][10] During season 1970–71, Celtic won all three main reserve honours - league, Reserve League Cup and Second XI Cup - scoring 157 goals in the process and becoming the first reserve team in Scotland to win the treble.[7]

In 1975, the Scottish League was reorganized into Premier-First-Second. The Premier clubs were assigned to the Premier Reserve League and the lower league clubs used varying regionalised sections and midweek competitions. When the Scottish Premier League was founded in 1998, the reserve league was replaced by an under 21 league with some overage players permitted.[2] Various changes to this set-up were made in subsequent years, eventually leading to the current SPFL Development League which is contested by the Under-20 teams of 17 Scottish Professional Football League clubs, including Celtic.[12][13]

There were numerous cup competitions for reserve sides since the earliest days; e.g. the Edinburgh 2nd XI Cup first played in the 1870s and the Scottish 2nd XI Cup which existed from 1882 to 1988. A plethora of cups were introduced during the 1880s but the advent of professionalism a decade later put pressure on club finances, and during the 1890s these tournaments gradually fell away.[14] The Scottish Reserve League Cup was introduced in 1945 and was last held in season 2013-14.[15] In June 2016, it was announced that the Challenge Cup would be expanded to include Under-20 sides from each Scottish Premiership club.[16]

They were members of the Scottish Premier Reserve League from its foundation in the 1998–99 season until the league ceased after the 2008–09 season. The side won the Reserve League eight times in the eleven seasons the league operated. They played their home games at Excelsior Stadium, normally the home of Airdrie United.

Youth football[edit]

A Youth Division was set by the Scottish League in 1993 and ran until 2012. This was an Under-18 league initially, but changed to Under-19s from 2003 onwards. Celtic Youths won the league for four consecutive seasons from 2002-03 to 2005-06.[17]

The Scottish Youth Cup was set up in 1984 and open to all senior clubs in Scotland. It was initially an U19 tournament, but is now for U20 sides.[18] Celtic are historically the most successful club in the competition, winning 14 finals.[18] The Glasgow Cup was for many years considered an important trophy for first-team sides in Glasgow, but by the 1980s had lost prestige and saw Celtic and Rangers usually fielding reserve sides. Due to lack of interest in the tournament as a senior competition, it was relaunched in 1988 as a youth tournament and is currently competed for by the U17 sides of senior league clubs in Glasgow.[19]

Development Squad[edit]

The Celtic Development Squad competes in the SPFL Development League. They usually play their home matches at Cappielow Park in Greenock or occasionally at Celtic's training ground, Lennoxtown. The Under-20s head coach is Tommy McIntyre and his assistant is Davie McGovern. The Under-20s had been previously coached by Stephen Frail.

The side have won the Scottish Premier Youth League four times, first in 2003–04 and then in 2004–05, 2005–06 and 2009–10. Celtic also won the revived Glasgow Cup in August 2008, beating rivals Rangers 3–1 in the final with goals from James Keatings, Richie Towell and James Forrest, which cancelled out the Rangers opener through Kyle Hutton.


[20] Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
44 Scotland DF Daniel Church
45 Scotland GK Ross Doohan
46 Australia MF Leo Mazis
47 Scotland DF Wallace Duffy
48 Scotland DF Robbie Deas
52 Scotland MF Ewan Henderson
55 Scotland MF Kerr McInroy
57 Scotland DF Stephen Welsh
60 Scotland MF Ross McLaughlin
61 Scotland MF Mark Hill
64 Scotland MF Regan Hendry
No. Position Player
66 Scotland FW Ciaran Diver
71 Scotland DF Lewis Bell
72 Scotland DF Max Potter
73 Scotland MF Mikey Johnston
74 Scotland FW Grant Savoury
76 Scotland FW Jack Aitchison
Scotland GK Reece Willison
Scotland MF Kristi Marku
Republic of Ireland FW Tommy Caffrey
Scotland FW Keiran Campbell
Scotland FW PJ Crossan

Out on loan[edit]

Challenge Cup[edit]

In June 2016, it was announced by the SPFL that the Challenge Cup would be expanded to include teams from the Welsh Premier League, Northern Irish Premiership and an Under-20s side from each Scottish Premiership club.[16] In the 2016-17 edition, Celtic U20 won their opening tie against Annan Athletic and then eliminated Cowdenbeath (both of the fourth level) before being knocked out by the then-League 1 club Livingston; they progressed further than all other Under-20s teams. In the 2017–18 Challenge Cup, the side were beaten by Annan Athletic in the first round.[21]

International tournaments[edit]

Celtic's U20s were the first Scottish participants in the NextGen Series - a youth tournament based on the UEFA Champions League. In the 2011–12 season, Celtic were drawn against Barcelona, Manchester City and Marseille, and finished third in their group.[22] Celtic confirmed that they would play in the 2012–13 edition tournament as well;[23] the team were again eliminated in the Group Stage.

In 2013–14 Celtic's senior team qualified for the Champions League group stages, meaning that the youth squad could play in the first edition of the UEFA Youth League. In the following season there was no chance to participate in that competition due to the first team's failure to qualify, but in 2015–16 an additional route into the tournament opened up to domestic youth (Under-17) champions, and Celtic qualified as the Scottish holders of that title.[24] After navigating two rounds, Celtic were eliminated on penalties by Valencia.

In 2016–17 the senior team succeeded in reaching the Champions League group stage, so the youth squad also entered that season's Youth League via that route (they had also qualified through the Under-17 path again in any case).[25] In the Youth League, the Group Stage mirrored the tough draw in the senior tournament, and Celtic collected just one point and finished fourth. Qualification was the same in 2017–18 – the Under-17s won the Scottish league[26] but in any case the first team reached the Champions League groups.

Celtic also successfully applied to compete in the 2014–15, 2015–16 and 2016–17 editions of the England-based Premier League International Cup.


The Celtic Youth Academy works with players from as young as five years of age, concentrating in early years on improving players technique, passing and possession. Players are actively encouraged to demonstrate their skills, including tricks and flicks, in match situations. The Academy also works in partnership with St Ninian's High School in Kirkintilloch, where players of secondary-school age benefit from nine coaching sessions per week.[27]

The most promising players then progress to Celtic's Development Squad programme.[27][28]

Under-17s squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Scotland GK Joshua Bradley-Hurst
Northern Ireland GK Liam Hughes
Scotland GK Ryan Mullen
Scotland DF Aiden Gibb
Scotland DF Andrew Kerr
Scotland DF Jack McDowall
Scotland DF Christopher McKenna
Scotland DF Liam Morrison
Republic of Ireland MF Barry Coffey
Scotland MF Scott Cusick
Northern Ireland MF Connor Farrelly
No. Position Player
Scotland MF Dylan Forrest
Scotland MF Paul Kennedy
Scotland MF David McKay
Scotland MF Scott Robertson
Scotland FW Michael Cunningham
Scotland FW Karamoko Dembele
Scotland FW Connor McBride
Scotland FW Kieran McGrath
Scotland FW Brody Paterson
Scotland FW Michael Sparkes


Position Name
Head of Youth Academy Chris McCart
Head Coach Tommy McIntyre
Dev. Squad Coach Davie McGovern
Dev. Squad Coach Dean Hartley
Dev. Squad Coach Shaun Maloney
Goalkeeping Coach Colin Meldrum
Fitness Coach Remy Tang
Under 17s Coach Michael O'Halloran
Under 17s Coach Hugh McGovern
Under 17s Coach George McCluskey
Physio Graham Parsons
Head of Youth Recruitment Willie McStay



  • Reserve League Championship: 14 (Known as Scottish Reserve League between 1895 and 1975 and then Reserve Scottish Premier League from 1975 onwards)[29][30][31]
1896, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1980, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1995
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Scottish Reserve Cup: 8[32]
1891, 1935, 1936, 1958, 1966, 1971, 1974, 1985
  • Reserve League Cup: 13[33]
1960, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996,
1922, 1934, 1937, 1938
1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966


  • SFL/SPL Youth League: 9[36]
1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012
2013, 2014, 2016
1984, 1987, 1989, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 , 2017
1990, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Former youth team players[edit]

Players in Bold have senior international caps

External links[edit]




  1. ^ Campbell, Tom; Woods, Pat (1992). A Celtic A - Z. Greenfield Press. p. 158. ISBN 095195010X. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Reserve Leagues". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Campbell, Tom; Woods, Pat (1992). A Celtic A - Z. Greenfield Press. p. 159. ISBN 095195010X. 
  4. ^ "Scottish Reserve League (1909-1915)". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Campbell, Tom; Woods, Pat (1992). A Celtic A - Z. Greenfield Press. pp. 159–160. ISBN 095195010X. 
  6. ^ Bose, Mihir (21 May 2003). "A unique import thrilled Celtic fans back in the 1930s". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Campbell, Tom; Woods, Pat (1992). A Celtic A - Z. Greenfield Press. p. 160. ISBN 095195010X. 
  8. ^ "Combined Reserve League". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  9. ^ MacPherson, Archie (2007). Jock Stein: The Definitive Biography. Highdown. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-905156-37-5. 
  10. ^ a b Dykes, Paul (24 March 2014). "The Quality Street Gang: The Greatest Team That Never Was". In Bed with Maradonna. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Young Celtic players face World Cup men". The Glasgow Herald. 8 October 1968. p. 6. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "SPL to create Under-20 league". STV Sport. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Development League Table". SPFL. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  14. ^ "Reserve Football". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "Scottish Reserve League Cup". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Scottish Challenge Cup expanded to include teams from Wales & NI". BBC Sport. 8 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "Scottish Premier Football League and Scottish Football League - Youth Divisions". Scottish Football Historical League. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Youth Cup". Scottish FA. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Glasgow Cup history". Glasgow Football Association. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  20. ^ Development Squad Celtic FC
  21. ^ "Annan Athletic 3—1 Celtic U20". Scottish Professional Football League. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  22. ^ "Marseille put to sword as Celtic end NextGen Group stage on high". Daily Mail. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "Delight as Celtic confirm involvement in NextGen Series". Celtic FC. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Celtic Under-17s book European place with title triumph". Celtic FC. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  25. ^ "Aitchison fires in a hat-trick as Celtic U17s seal league title". Celtic FC. 29 May 2016. 
  26. ^ "European football again for Celtic's Under-17 champions". Celtic FC. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  27. ^ a b "Academy". Celtic FC. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  28. ^ Henderson, Mark (15 November 2013). "Celtic partnership with St Ninian's is top-class success". Celtic FC. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  29. ^ "Scottish Reserve League (1895–96)". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Scottish Reserve League (1955–1975)". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Scottish Reserve League (1975–2009)". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  32. ^ "Scottish 2nd XI Cup". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  33. ^ "Scottish Reserve League Cup". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  34. ^ "Scottish Alliance (1919–1938)". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "Combined Reserve Football League (1958–1972)". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  36. ^ "SFL/SPL Youth Divisions". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  37. ^ "Youth Cup". Scottish FA. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  38. ^ "Glasgow Cup History". Glasgow FA. Retrieved 2 October 2015.