Academy graduates have stepped up to the mark, says Haley


By Colette Carr

David Haley was full of praise for his 2019 Academy graduates, as the former Academy boss applauded them for recognising and grabbing the opportunities that lay in waiting for them.

When Haley returned to the first team fold as Fran Alonso’s assistant, five of his standouts also made the leap up, with Chloe Warrington, Rebecca McAllister and Paige McAllister who rose through the ranks stepping up alongside Haley’s own Academy signings Kate Nicolson and Tegan Bowie. 

And while he did share his pleasure at playing his part in their progression, he was keen to stress it was down to their own determination.

“Personally it’s good, but it’s not about me, it’s about them and the journey they’ve made,” the assistant started. 

“For the likes of Kate and Tegan who came in last season from other clubs, we’ve shown there is the clear pathway to come in from other places and make sure that if you perform well enough you can go play at first team level, and that’s what we always told them.

“Now they’ve had their opportunity to come into the first team and they've taken it, whether it's Tegan who's started a couple and performed well or Kate who’s started and came on. Becs will get her opportunity and Chloe has done really well too, so it’s been really good.

“Paige (McAllister) going out and getting some experience out at Hearts is great for her as well, so it’s great but it's about keeping it going with the Academy and making sure there is a clear pathway for all the Academy girls.”

Their 2019 efforts for the Academy outfit were rewarded with a League Cup winners medal and taking SWFL1 winners Glasgow City all the way to the wire. But while silverware is always the target at Celtic, Haley explained the goal to also help promote players was just as important, as he hailed his backroom staff for the parts they played. 

“It’s down to the good coaches that were down there as well. Guys like Stevie Burr, Daniel Byrne, Brian McAuley and Daniel McLaughlin who are all good coaches worked really hard with these players, but credit to the players who know there is that jump. They’ve had to adapt really quickly and they've managed to do it,” he told.

And he also touched on the opportunity they have to learn from their now-peers, and how he hopes it can also help the players to follow. 

“They see people there that can help them along the way, with the likes of Nats and Lisa Robertson and then people that we’ve brought in like a Summer Green or a Sarah Teegarden - people who have played in other countries, so it's great to have those role models there both from domestic and foreign football. Now, we just have to keep making sure that pathway remains,” he added. 

Celtic play Forfar Farmington on Sunday December 6 at K-Park in a 2pm kick-off.  Watch live on the BBC Sport Scotland website.  

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