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Top 8 Celtic graduates ranked as Lennoxtown celebrates anniversary


It’s been 14 years since Celtic made their big move to Lennoxtown.

And since then a range of talents have blossomed in the youth system and seized the opportunities of the first team.

It was the dawn of a new era when the club left Barrowfield training center in 2007 with the late Tommy Burns playing a key role in the move to new pasture.

This allowed graduates like Callum McGregor to come through the club.

Meanwhile, James Forrest can show a full trophy cabinet and international career as the product of development setup.

There are also talents who have moved away from east Glasgow and left a lasting mark on the game.

Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Callum McGregor are among Celtic’s top Lennontown graduates


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Sport record take a look at the top Celtic graduates to go through the development system, enjoying the wonders of Lennoxtown.

Jackson irvine

He may not have made too many appearances for Celtic’s first team, but Jackson Irvine can safely be seen as a successful product of the club’s academy.

The 28-year-old has proven himself at numerous clubs north and south of the border and has 37 impressive caps for Australia.

The midfielder initially impressed during a try at Lennoxtown and looked to have a bright future as Neil Lennon tried to bring youngsters into his first team.

Loan spells at Kilmarnock and Ross County eventually saw the Australian sign of Burton Albion and Hull, before returning to Scotland to play for Hibs.

Now in Germany, Irvine enjoys playing for FC St Pauli and winning more caps for his country.

Jamie mccart

Jamie McCart (right) and teammates (from left) Craig Bryson, Shaun Rooney and Michael O'Halloran pose with the Scottish Cup
Jamie McCart (right) and teammates (from left) Craig Bryson, Shaun Rooney and Michael O’Halloran pose with the Scottish Cup

Jamie McCart was a much talked about Celtic youth system product that could eventually find its way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans.

The defender made his League Cup debut in 2016, and the appearance suggests more could follow in the boss’s first season.

However, a year later a loan spell at Inverness sparked the start of a number of Scottish clubs in pursuit of his signing. This led him to St Johnstone where he helped the club achieve their fantastic cup double last season.

The 24-year-old has since had a crack in European football as he continues to be a great player for Callum Davidson.

Mikey johnston

Still relatively young, Mikey Johnston has been one of Celtic’s most notable development talents in recent years.

The winger burst onto the scene in 2017 with plenty of tips to appease fans, proving to be a very promising talent.

It has since earned the first-team selection by three different managers who all trusted prospect to add to the Hoops’ offensive flair.

Johnston’s goals and assists so far in his career already show the talent the 22-year-old has in his record, coming from his time in the youth squad.

Anthony ralston

He is currently enjoying his longest streak in the Celtic First Team, but Anthony Ralston is a player who feels like he’s been there for years.

The right-back broke into the first team at the age of 17 when he got his debut on the bench at the end of Ronny Deila’s last season in charge.

But it was Brendan Rodgers who really saw the academy graduate’s talent and began to bleed him in the starting 11s to gain vital experience over the next two seasons.

His most notable first team appearance around this time was when he faced Neymar when PSG visited Celtic in the Champions League.

The club then awarded the 22-year-old a new four-and-a-half-year contract for his growing success, which all started in Celtic’s youth academy.

Liam Henderson

Liam Henderson was a huge prospect under Neil Lennon on his first stint at Celtic.

The talented midfielder then enjoyed a sparkling start to his career which saw him traveled well and never looked out of place in different leagues.

He became a huge player at Hibs during a loan spell and was instrumental in their famous Scottish Cup victory over Rangers in 2016.

The 25-year-old has since become successful in Italy with Serie A for a number of clubs, most recently Leece and now Empoli where he currently plays.

Henderson also enjoyed spells in Rosenborg, Bari, and Hellas Verona which all reaped the rewards of learning his trade in Lennoxtown.

James forrest

Celtic’s longest-serving player James Forrest was one of the most successful academy graduates in club history.

His trophy-filled career now spans over a decade with the fan favorite now nearly 300 appearances for the Hoops.

It was Neil Lennon who brought him to the first team, and the winger has since won 38 caps for Scotland as well as five international goals.

Forrest has been hailed by Celtic’s youth development manager Chris McCart as one of the best players in the U19 squad where he stood out among the Lennoxtown youth.

And he has since grown into a big club since he graduated from the academy.

Callum mcgregor

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 30: Celtic captain Callum McGregor during a UEFA Europa League group stage match between Celtic and Bayer Leverkusen at Celtic Park on September 30, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It’s not very often that you see Callum McGregor missing a game for Celtic – he has become Mr. Dependable for the Parkhead Club.

Now captain of the club, the 28-year-old is one of the most striking courses in Celtic’s youth academy.

Introduced in the first team in 2013 under Deila, the midfielder has never looked back.

McGregor did the trick – starting with a number of memorable goals against rivals Rangers; in the cup final and even crucial Champions League goals in his club career – he has been one of Celtic’s best talents.

And that’s not to mention a decent life on the international front, scorer of the only Scottish goal at Euro 2020.

His job now is to lead Celtic through a tough season at the start of a new era under new boss Postecoglou, and you feel like he has a long way to go!

Kieran tierney

Tierney was adored by fans who saw the youngster wear his heart on his sleeve, while also being one of the brightest sparks in Scottish football.

Pierced under Deila, the academy graduate has become a mainstay under Rodgers where he has enjoyed tremendous success, even captaining his team a few times despite his young age.

But green and white hearts were quickly broken when Tierney completed his money transfer to Premier League giants Arsenal in 2019.

The transfer brought in £ 25million for his childhood club – making him Scotland’s most expensive player of all time – and a figure that speaks volumes when Celtic looks back on the successes of their youth system and their training center in Lennoxtown.

It’s no surprise that Gunners fans also love the Scotland international who thrives in the south as he continues his already illustrious career.