After Ange Postegoclou fielded an extremely young and inexperienced Celtic side in the club’s incredibly impressive 3-2 win over Real Betis last week, it would very much appear as if the future at Parkhead is a bright one.
Indeed, the 56-year-old handed Celtic debuts to both 21-year-old Osaze Urhoghide and 20-year-old Liam Shaw in the Europa League fixture, in addition to awarding first-team minutes to exciting prospects Liam Scales, Adam Montgomery and Ewan Henderson.
However, it is not only on the periphery of Postecoglou’s first-team squad where there are a number of promising talents, the club’s B team side also looks to be littered with up and coming gems – none more so than 16-year-old Rocco Vata.
Son of Celtic cult hero Rudi Vata, Rocco put pen to paper on his first professional deal with the Hoops earlier this summer, and the attacking midfielder has been highly impressing in the Scottish Lowland Football League ever since.
Indeed, following yet another spectacular goal in Celtic B’s 1-0 win over East Stirlingshire on Friday – with the teenager turning on the afterburners in order to latch onto Mackenzie Carse’s defence-splitting through ball, before taking a touch and crashing his shot past the opposition goalkeeper off the crossbar – the reserve side manager, Tommy McIntyre, was rather understandably full of praise for the youngster.
McIntyre said: “We got a great goal. I thought it was a fabulous goal. He was probably the best player on the night so he deserved the goal. He’s got to get a lot of credit himself. He’s just natural. He plays and we coach him but he’s got to perform on the day. He’s certainly taking everything on board we’re trying to get out of him. There’s more to come from him, there’s no doubt, but he’s young. What a fantastic goal tonight.”
However, the midfielder’s special strike last week was by no means his first of the current campaign, as, during a Republic of Ireland U17 fixture against North Macedonia back in October, the teenager also bagged a breathtaking goal – turning a helpless defender before unleashing a thunderous 30-yard drive into the far corner of the opposition net.
And, although the youngster who The Celtic Bhoys dubbed a “star in the making” undeniably has a great deal of developing to do if he is to go onto break into the Ange Postecgolou’s first-team squad, there are undoubtedly shades of the Hoops’ former playmaker Lubomir Moravcik about Vata.
Indeed, in an article that could quite easily be describing the 16-year-old sensation, These Football Times wrote of the Slovakian midfielder: “He was one of those players who seemed to have more time on the ball than those around him. He dribbled superbly… and scored many spectacular goals from distance with both feet – a rare talent indeed.”
As such, should Vata be able to maintain his current level of performance over the next year or two, Postecoglou could well go on to unearth Parkhead’s next Moravcik in the youngster – something that would certainly delight the Celtic faithful.