With their prospects of an unbelievable 10-in-a-row in the Scottish Premiership looking bleaker than ever before, Celtic will be searching for crumbs of comfort over these coming months.
Neil Lennon’s side just need to hit the reset button and plan a rebuild, and the one thing that can always help is blooding some fresh, young talent.
The Hoops were forced into doing that last time out against Hibernian, with the likes of Stephen Welsh and Cameron Harper both getting an opportunity to start from the off.
And whilst Harper fluffed his lines on the day – he finished with the lowest match rating of any player on the pitch as per Sofascore (6.1) and couldn’t get involved in the game with just 30 total touches (no Celtic outfield player who started the game had less) – a second chance should be handed out to the 19-year-old.
In fact, sources have told The Athletic that “both Neil Lennon and the first-team core have been impressed by Harper’s work rate and technical quality in training”, showing how highly-rated he is behind the scenes.
And Harper hasn’t just been impressing those at club level either, with his coach for the USA U20s, Anthony Hudson, saying: “He’s different. You don’t normally get out-and-out wingers, players that really love to get down the outside and beat defenders and put crosses in, and he’s got the quality to be able to do it. He loves doing it.
“Not only has he got quality, but also he’s a great kid. He’s incredibly determined, incredibly focused. There’s something different about him.”
And that temperament is exactly what will be required for the rest of this season as Celtic scramble around for some positives to take away from what has been a horrible and difficult campaign.
If Harper can prove his worth amid these trying times, then the Hoops will know they’ve got someone for the future who they can actually rely upon when the going gets tough.
So whilst he did have a disappointing display against Hibs, Lennon should consider giving Harper another chance over these coming weeks and months so that one bad game doesn’t play on his mind for too long.
One bad performance doesn’t make a player, and certainly not a young one at that and before the Scottish Premiership season is over, Harper needs to have been given a proper opportunity to shine over a longer period of games.