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Celtic: Dane Murray is one to watch

This season has been a torrid affair for everyone at Celtic, no less than Neil Lennon.

Their capitulation this term led to his departure and there were no shortage of reasons as to why he left Parkhead.

They have lost their dominance on Scottish football and performances, certainly from a defensive point of view, have been lacklustre.

Though, one issue lying slightly beneath the surface is a lack of minutes for their younger players. Cameron Harper has left the club while Karamoko Dembele could follow him through the exit door this summer when his contract expires.

As a result, a host of their talented reserve players have headed out on loan. Luca Connell is spending the second half of the campaign on loan at Queen’s Park while talented Norwegian Leo Hjelde is with Ross County until the climax of the season.

The centre-back has already been compared to both Virgil van Dijk and Kristoffer Ajer but his development for now, is clearly best suited away from the Hoops.

Who is the better prospect?

Murray

Murray

Hjelde

Hjelde

One player who has earned the trust of coaches at Celtic, however, is Dane Murray. Another 17-year-old defender, he is now training with the senior team.

There is no loan spell in the pipeline for Murray but such is his immense potential that he’s already getting used to his surroundings among the first team squad at Lennoxtown.

He has trained under John Kennedy on a number of occasions now, a period he’s described as “brilliant.”

After penning new terms with Celtic, Murray spoke this month about his development and transition to playing alongside more experienced players.

“Everything about your game comes on more when you train with the first-team,” he began. “The standard and intensity are much higher. Everyone helps you along every step of the way and they’re constantly giving you information. They just want the best for you really.”

The teenager is clearly being guided by the right people and he has been extremely keen to learn from someone like Ajer.

The Norway international came to Scotland as a teenager and has developed into one of Celtic’s key players.

“You also have Kris Ajer who came in at 17 and look at him now. The change he’s made has been brilliant,” Murray explained.

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“Then you have the club captain Scott Brown. What he’s done in his career has been brilliant and I can only hope for even half of that,” he added.

It’s not just the age at which Ajer and Murray broke into the set-up that’s similar, however. The latter started out as a midfielder and is still very much capable of playing further forward, as well as in defence.

Ajer has played in a holding role in the past and has also performed admirably at full-back. Versatility like that, particularly at a young age, is a very useful asset to have.

With that in mind, it might make the transition to first team life a little smoother for Murray.

Unlike Hjelde, he has been trusted to stay at the club and develop. That can only be a good thing.

AND in other news, Celtic may be on the verge of repeating Deila’s costly blunder, fans should be fuming…

Article title: Celtic: Dane Murray is one to watch

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