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Celtic can unearth James McCarthy heir in Daniel Kelly

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou will likely be plotting to move on some members of his squad in the January window, with the Parkhead outfit having a handful of figures who are currently on the periphery at present.

One of those who is out in the cold is boyhood fan, James McCarthy, with the 32-year-old having endured a miserable time of it in Glasgow since joining the Old Firm outfit back in the summer of 2021.

The Republic of Ireland international has gone on to make only 27 appearances in all competitions since then over the last 18 months, with only six of those outings having come from the start as a marker of his struggles for game time.

The 43-cap dud – who is currently ruled out with injury – has been restricted to just 62 minutes of action in the current campaign thus far, with it appearing a notable mistake to have awarded the former Crystal Palace man a lengthy, four-year contract at the time of his arrival.

Reports back in October suggested that the Scottish champions are already looking to shift the £14k-per-week man in the New Year, with pundit Frank McAvennie suggesting that the midfielder “will go” if an offer does arrive.

That exit could well provide the chance for Postecoglou to promote a promising talent from the club’s youth ranks, with 17-year-old Daniel Kelly one such figure who could well prove to be the heir to McCarthy in the side.

The highly-rated playmaker appears to have a “big future” in the game – in the words of B team coach Tommy McIntyre – with the teenager having impressed in his deep-lying midfield role of late, racking up 13 appearances in all competitions this season.

The young Scotsman – who is yet to feature at senior level – was notably lauded following his display in a recent clash against Dunfermline, with opposition boss James McPake having spoken highly of his quality:

“You come up against a CDM or a No 6 in that role, the deep-lying midfielder, Daniel Kelly is the best about at that age for Celtic, I’ve seen him a few times. He’s so assured.”

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Such a glowing assessment is a marker of just what a genuine starlet the Bhoys do have on their hands, with that talent also illustrated by the fact that the youngster has earned notable interest of late, with Premier League clubs having been circling prior to his recent contract extension.

The next step will no doubt be to hand Kelly a more prominent role at first-team level, with the departure of McCarthy seemingly set to afford the youngster a great chance of staking his claim in the side at the base of the midfield.

It could well be wise for Postecoglou to try and spark the Celtic career of one gem, while ending the career of another.