When McGeouch was brought back to paradise from across the city it was reported as a real coup for Celtic, with Neil Lennon personally visiting him and his family to convince him to come home. He was described as a wonderkid who was the Ibrox side’s most promising prospect and despite Walter Smith’s pleads for him to stay, he knew where he belonged. However, two years on and with fewer than 20 league appearances to his name, it’s fair to say we’ve yet to see the best from young Dylan. Injuries have been a constant disruption for him, none more so than in the pre-season friendly vs Real Madrid last season. What seemed an innocuous clash became a horror injury which left him lying unconscious on the field for several minutes after shining as arguably Celtic’s best player against the superstars of Madrid. We have of course seen other glimpses of his talent such as his superb solo goal against St Mirren, but at the age of 20 and with Celtic hopefully competing on domestic and European fronts this season it could be time for Dylan to star. If Neil Lennon can fit him into his preferred role in the middle of the park, especially in the cup competitions or Scottish Premiership (not a fan of this rebranding!) games where the squad is rotated then I believe this could be a real breakthrough season for Dylan to showcase his ability to the fans.
X-factor style football competitions such as Football’s Next Star have, ironically, yet to discover any real talents, but in Nike’s The Chance there appeared to be much more hope of unearthing something special. With their reputation as a global sports brand, Nike scoured the corners of the Earth in search of a new star and found Australia’s Tom Rogic. After a couple of years showcasing his skill in Oz Neil Lennon gave Rogic his big break in European football with a move to Celtic in January. Joining a new side midway through the season can always be a struggle for a player, none more so than a twenty year old travelling across the globe to settle in a new country. Now though, after 6 months in Glasgow and with a handful of first team appearances to his name, including a man of the match debut up in Inverness, Tom is ready and raring to show everyone what he can do. With a style of play not dissimilar to Moussa Dembele, Tom Rogic appears to have that rare ability to glide past players effortlessly. Only Nakamura has come close to replicating the skill and vision of Lubo Moravcik in recent years, and now if he can fulfil his potential we could be looking at the new creative talisman of our side for a long time to come. I believe we will see massive strides of improvement from Tom throughout the season and if he can cement a place in the team I predict him to be a real standout player this year.
Players between the ages of 18-22 frequently struggle to maintain a high level of form throughout the campaign, especially if their season is disrupted by injuries as is so often the case. But if given enough game time without too much pressure applied to them we could be about to see big things from these three youngsters. Signings will, of course, still be necessary. As I said too much pressure and expectations can be a massive hindrance on a young footballer, but with Celtic, hopefully, about to be competing on four fronts again this season, the squad will need to be rotated, and cup matches or home games against lower table sides could give these bhoys the perfect platform to showcase their talents and stake their claim for a permanent place in the side.