Midfielder John Herron couldn’t be happier as he regularly hits the back of the net and watches some of his team-mates from primary school days force their way into Neil Lennon’s first team plans.
This season’s Celtic’s u-19 have rattled off seven wins on the bounce, including home and away wins over Manchester City, and have impressed with their performances as much as by their results.
Vital to the teams success has been the continuity through the ranks with Herron the first player to join up at the age of EIGHT.
Defenders Marcus Fraser, Joe Chalmers and Mikey Miller quickly came onboard with all four regulars in this season’s u-19 side after winning the Glasgow Cup last term as u-17’s.
“A lot of people say that you have a better chance of breaking through at other clubs but at Celtic you’ve got to keep pushing just to stay in the side,” Herron explained.
“I know what it’s like to be at a big club with lots of competition for places and that provides it’s own incentives. I came in when I was 8 turning 9 and was joined by Joe Chalmers and Marcus Fraser about nine months later.
“I’ve played with Joe, Marcus and Mikey (Miller) through thick and thin since under-9’s!
“I’m from Coatbridge and Celtic has always been part of my life. Tommy Burns, John McStay and Hugh McGovern brought me in to Celtic, I’ve always been a fan and always will be.”
Herron added: “Obviously Henrik Larsson was a hero but as a midfielder I liked to watch Stan Petrov and Lubo Moravcik.
“Seeing Marcus playing for the first team has been fantastic for all of the players in the u-19 squad. The manager is giving players a chance, he showed that with Marcus who has been in great form.
“He’s worked his way into the first team, the manager has shown that he’s willing to push someone in if there’s a place, he’s not scared to call in a younger player if they are doing well and that helps everyone around the place.”
On Saturday Celtic take on St Johnstone at Stirling Univercity before travelling to Barcelona for the latest adventure in the Next Gen Series.
John Kennedy’s side produced their best performance of the season in the 4-2 win away to Manchester City with Herron looking to repeat that standard in every match.
He added: “The game at Man City has been the highlight of the season so far and we have to try and produce that every week. We know what is expected.
“At Manchester City we were told to press high up the park, we pressed them as a unit and didn’t run around as individuals.
“It was great to score in that match and getting goals is part of a midfielders job. I’ve scored five in our current run and love finding the back of the net.
“I’m used to playing in the middle of the park but this season I’ve been playing wide on the right.
“My job is to get on the ball, cut inside and help create chances for others. It’s been going well but there’s so much competition for places that you have to be on form to keep a jersey.
“We’ve got a great squad and if anyone is out injured we can call in someone like Stewart Findlay and he’s settled into the team straight away.
“There’s a great atmosphere amongst the players, everyone is spurring each other on and you can see that in our results.”
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