Celtic F.C. Under-20s and Academy

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Celtic Under 20s
Celtic FC.svg
Full name Celtic Under 20s
Nickname(s) The Bhoys
Founded 1888
Ground Cappielow Park
Ground Capacity 11,589
Head Coach Tommy McIntyre
League SPFL U20 League
2015–16 SPFL U20 League, 1st

As well as the Celtic first team, competing in the Scottish Premiership, the club also has a U20 and U17 sides.

History of reserve & youth football[edit]

Reserve football[edit]

Celtic's first known involvement in reserve 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. 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. It 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. However following an AGM in 1938, these non-league sides were removed and the league became exclusive to First Division reserve sides. The advent of World War 2, however, once again saw the suspension of reserve football in Scotland.[1]

The national Reserve League restarted at the end of the war, once again mirroring the sixteen club top-tier division. This set-up, with minor variations, continued up until 1975.[1] From 1958 up to 1966, Celtic also fielded a reserve side (effectively a 3rd XI) in the Combined Reserve League.[2]

The 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.[3]

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.[1] 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.[4][5]

There were numerous cup competitions for reserve sides since the earliest days; eg 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.[6] The Scottish Reserve League Cup was introduced in 1945 and was last held in season 2013-14.[7] In June 2016, it was announced that the Challenge Cup would be expanded to include Under-20 sides from each Scottish Premiership club.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10] Celtic are historically the most successful club in the competition, winning 14 finals.[10] 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.[11]

Development Squad[edit]

Celtic Development Squad are the Development Squad of Celtic. The team mainly consists of Under-20 players at the club and fringe first team players. Some of the first team also play when they are recovering from injury.

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.

Under-20s Team[edit]

The Celtic Under-20s Team competes in the SPFL U20 League. The side 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.

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.[12] Celtic confirmed in January 2012 that they would play in the 2012–13 edition tournament as well.[13]

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. 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).[14]

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

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.[8] 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 Championship club Livingston; they progressed further than all other Under-20s teams.


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

No. Position Player
40 Scotland FW PJ Crossan
47 Republic of Ireland DF Fiacre Kelleher
56 Scotland DF Anthony Ralston
59 Scotland FW Calvin Miller
64 Scotland MF Regan Hendry
65 Northern Ireland GK Conor Hazard
68 Scotland GK Ross Doohan
73 Scotland MF Michael Johnston
76 Scotland FW Jack Aitchison
No. Position Player
Scotland GK Aiden McAdams
Scotland DF Sam Wardrop
Scotland DF Daniel Higgins
Scotland DF Josh Kerr
Scotland DF Shaun Bowers (on loan at BSC Glasgow)
Republic of Ireland MF Brandon Payne
Scotland MF Mark Hill
Scotland MF Wallace Duffy
Scotland FW Luke Donnelly (on loan at Greenock Morton)

Academy & Under-17s[edit]

The Celtic Youth Academy works with players from as young as 5 years of age, and concentrates 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.[16]

The most promising players then progress to Celtic's Development Squad programme.[16][17]

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 Conor Cullen
Scotland GK Joshua Rae
Scotland DF Daniel Church
Scotland DF Lewis Bell (on loan at BSC Glasgow)
Scotland DF Grant Thorburn
Scotland MF Daniel McAllister
Scotland MF Ryan Caird
No. Position Player
Scotland MF Aidan Quinn
Scotland MF Kristi Marku
Scotland MF Lewis Doherty
Scotland MF Ross McLaughlin
Scotland FW Broque Watson (on loan at Cumbernauld Colts)
Scotland FW Karamoko Dembele


Position Name
Head of Youth Academy Chris McCart
Head Coach Tommy McIntyre
Dev. Squad Coach Davie McGovern
Dev. Squad Coach Dean Hartley
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



  • Scottish Reserve League: 8[18] (1955-1975)
1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971
  • Premier Reserve League: 6[19] (1975-1998)
1980, 1981, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1995
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009


  • SFL Youth League: 1[20]
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
2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016

Former youth team players[edit]

Players in Bold have senior international caps

External links[edit]




  1. ^ a b c "Reserve Leagues". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Combined Reserve League". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Dykes, Paul John (24 March 2014). "The Quality Street Gang: The Greatest Team That Never Was". In Bed with Maradonna. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "SPL to create Under-20 league". STV Sport. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "Development League Table". SPFL. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Reserve Football". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Scottish Reserve League Cup". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Scottish Challenge Cup expanded to include teams from Wales & NI". BBC Sport. 8 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Scottish Premier Football League and Scottish Football League - Youth Divisions". Scottish Football Historical League. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Youth Cup". Scottish FA. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Glasgow Cup history". Glasgow Football Association. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Marseille put to sword as Celtic end NextGen Group stage on high". Daily Mail. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Delight as Celtic confirm involvement in NextGen Series". Celtic FC. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Aitchison fires in a hat-trick as Celtic U17s seal league title". Celtic FC. 29 May 2016. 
  15. ^ Development Squad Celtic FC
  16. ^ a b "Academy". Celtic FC. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  17. ^ Henderson, Mark (15 November 2013). "Celtic partnership with St Ninian's is top-class success". Celtic FC. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  18. ^ Scottish Football Historical Archive Mirror - Scottish Reserve League
  19. ^ Scottish Football Historical Archive Mirror - Premier Reserve League
  20. ^ Scottish Football Historical Archive Mirror - SFL/SPL/SPFL Youth Leagues