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Celtic: Postecoglou could find his next Ralston in McPherson

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has no doubt inspired a real reversal of fortunes at Parkhead over the past year or so, taking a side that had finished 25 points off leaders Rangers prior to his arrival to Scottish Premiership glory last term, with that stellar form continuing with ten wins from their opening 11 league games this season.

One major success story of the 57-year-old’s time in Glasgow thus far has been that of Anthony Ralston, with the academy graduate having gone from peripheral figure to valued squad member under the former Yokohama boss’ tutelage.

The 23-year-old had previously made just a solitary top-flight appearance during the 2020/21 campaign under Neil Lennon – following earlier stints on loan at the likes of Dundee United and St Johnstone – with it looking as if the Scotsman had no long-term future at Paradise.

As it proved, however, the attacking right-back went on to play a key part in the Old Firm outfit’s domestic success last term – despite the arrival of fellow defender Josip Juranovic – scoring four goals and providing nine assists in the league alone.

That stunning form also saw the 6-foot machine register 13 big chances and average 1.3 key passes per game from his 28 league outings, having seemingly thrived in the new manager’s inverted full-back system.

Such form has also seen the Bellshill-born starlet force his way into Steve Clarke’s plans at senior level for Scotland, with the £1.8m-rated ace notably scoring in the win over Armenia in the Nations League back in June.

As pundit Craig Levein noted, it has been some transformation for the six-cap colossus to go from something of an “ordinary” figure with the Hoops to an “international player” over the past 12 months, with that no doubt a marker of his manager’s quality as a coach.

Postecoglou will likely be looking to the academy once again to try and find another hidden gem in the youth ranks, with 18-year-old right-back Ben McPherson potentially one who can follow in Ralston’s footsteps in the near future.

The promising teen is yet to enjoy a taste of life in the first team, although has caught the eye with his display for both the club’s B team and in the youth ranks, having made nine appearances in all competitions this term.

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While a red card in the 6-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League was a notable low point for the youngster, the Scotland youth international was then part of the side that claimed victory over RB Leipzig a few weeks later, with coach Stephen McManus subsequently lauding his exciting side as full of “terrific young players” who have a “bright future” in the game.

Postecoglou has previously suggested that he is keen to get that “conveyor belt of talent going between the B team directly up to the first team”, with McPherson one of those who he may well be keeping an eye on at present.