Stuart McLaren Wants Celtic Academy Youth to Have ‘Fruitful and Beneficial’ Experience After Under-18 Appointments


The 46-year-old has left his post at the Scottish FA where he coached the Under-16s

Stuart McLaren has been tasked with further developing Celtic’s academy youth after being appointed the club’s new Under-18 manager.

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The Scottish-Australian spent his youth playing professionally before returning to Scotland with Stirling Albion, whom he would later lead, and Hamilton Accies.

McLaren, a center-back, returned to Australia for the remainder of his playing career before taking on his first coaching role in 2003.

He admits the attraction of working with one of the country’s most exciting young players was a huge factor in his decision to join Parkhead club.

McLaren told Celtic TV: “I am absolutely delighted to be here – with the stature of the club he is obviously well known and it was a huge attraction.

“I really enjoyed my time at the Scottish FA and it has been a real honor to coach the national team, but the intermittent activity is a challenge.

“The chance to come here and work with some of the best and most talented young players that we have in Scotland on a regular basis and to try and support them in their pursuit of their careers was too good a lure to refuse.”

McLaren are well aware that not all young players in the club’s academy will be successful as professional footballers, but they really want their experience to be a positive one.

Stephen Welsh at a Celtic training session in Lennoxtown, July 16, 2021 (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

He said: “Obviously at the first team level it’s all about getting results. I like to see the players build on their careers and try to progress to better things and all that that entails.

“You hope that some of the players we have here continue and do good things for the first team and play in a magnificent stadium and help the club achieve all of their goals and ambitions – to play in the Champions League and win trophies.

“Some are hoping to be able to support them on their journey elsewhere in football and some, unfortunately we know, will not be up to the task, but we hope their experience at Celtic’s academy will be of great benefit to them regardless of the path taken by their life. “

During his playing career, McLaren left Brisbane Roar just months before Angel Postecoglou took over the A-League team, but briefly explained their “crossed paths” when he stepped into a role of player / manager in the lower level.

He said: “I knew Ange well and our paths mostly crossed when he became head coach of Brisbane Roar.

“Unfortunately, I had finished playing there a few months before, so I never had the joy of working under him as a player.

Ange Postecoglou is enjoying life in Scotland.

“I watched with great pride, as a fellow Aussie in a way, as he continued to achieve the things he has, and it’s no surprise to me that he started to. the way he has.

“I’m sure everyone connected with Celtic is thrilled with the impact it has had, and we can all look forward to a period of success, hopefully Angel will bring.”

McLaren will take their place in the dugout for the first time on Friday when the Celtic U-18s face Aberdeen at Cormack Park.

Celtic’s Youth Academy Director Chris McCart commented: “Stuart was very successful in his interview and practice session.

“Our process was very thorough and we are delighted that Stuart was selected as a candidate.

“We would also like to thank the SFA and in particular Andy Gould (Chief Football Officer) for allowing Stuart to join us.”


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