16 Apr 19
The Scottish Sun
CELTIC and Rangers recently squared off in a powderkeg Glasgow derby – and later this month it’s the turn of the Old Firm youngsters.
They clash at Hampden in the SFA Youth Cup Final on Thursday, April 25.
Graeme Murty, Ross McCrorie, Sam Wardrop and Tommy McIntyre ahead of 2017 final
The team sheets for the Youth Cup Final two years ago
Tommy McIntyre’s Hoops ran out 3-0 winners against Graeme Murty’s Gers two years ago, the last time the teams met at this stage of the competition.
What happened to the starlets who made the starting XIs that night and how have they progressed?
Senior appearances via Soccerbase: 28
The 21-year-old – contracted to the Hoops until 2021 – has yet to feature for the Celts first-team.
But he’s already got a Northern Ireland cap to his name and is starring for Partick Thistle on loan this season after a spell with Falkirk in 2017/18.
Senior appearances: 46
Ralston, 20, has yet to establish himself with the Scottish champions and remains behind Mikael Lustig and Jeremy Toljan in the Parkhead pecking order.
The right-back – who famously clashed with PSG superstar Neymar – spent time on loan at Queen’s Park and Dundee United.
Conor Hazard trains at Celtic Park with Craig Gordon and Scott Bain
Senior appearances: 75
The 21-year-old left-back was released shortly after scoring in the Youth Cup Final against Gers.
He’s now at Berwick Rangers after a season at Peterhead.
Sam Wardrop (Captain)
Senior appearances: 36
Wardrop, 21, signed a two-year deal with Dundee United last summer but hasn’t featured since September’s Challenge Cup draw with Alloa.
The defender was at Dumbarton for a season during his time at Parkhead.
Senior appearances: 5
Kerr, also 21, is on loan at Derry City where ex-Celtic ace Paddy McCourt is assistant boss.
The Brighton defender left the Hoops after winning the Youth Cup and has so far failed to make the breakthrough at the Amex.
Calvin Miller, Sam Wardrop and Aidan McIlduff
Senior appearances: 26
The midfielder, 20, was on loan at Forfar this season before being farmed out to USL outfit Charlotte Independence.
Hill – under contract with the Hoops until next summer – had a spell at St Mirren last season.
Senior appearances: 27
The standout player at Hampden in 2017 and a winger described as “an exceptional talent” by ex-Celtic and Scotland star Shaun Maloney.
He was applauded by Bayern Munich fans in Germany after a stunning performance as his team were beaten 6-2 in the Uefa Youth League.
The 19-year-old, given his debut by Brendan Rodgers, remains on the fringes of the Hoops first-team and has bagged three goals in 20 games this season.
Senior appearances: 92
Thomson, 22, left Celtic Park last summer after just one substitute appearance during the Ronny Deila era.
The midfielder – who’s spent time at Dumbarton, Queen of the South and Livingston – has been a regular for Dunfermline in the Scottish Championship in 2018/19.
Johnston was handed first-team opportunity by Rodgers
Thomson in action for the Pars against Dundee last year
Senior appearances: 21
The 19-year-old is yet to really kick on since becoming Celtic’s youngest ever goalscorer in May 2016 aged 16 years and 71 days.
He’s managed just two appearances for the Bhoys first-team since then.
But the striker is on loan at Alloa in the Championship, under contract at Parkhead until 2021 and remains a regular in the Scotland youth ranks.
Senior appearances: 83
Nesbitt, 22, was a standout in the Celts youth ranks but it didn’t work out for him at Parkhead.
He left in 2017 after being lured to MK Dons by Robbie Neilson and he’s now at Dundee United with the ex-Hearts boss.
Nesbitt – hailed by Mark Wotte during the Dutchman’s time as SFA performance director – also bagged a hat-trick in the 2015 Youth Cup Final against Rangers.
Nesbitt during his time at MK Dons
Senior appearances: 33
The 21-year-old – under contract with the Scottish champions until 2020 – is on loan at Ayr United after spending the first half of the season at Dundee.
The Castlemilk-born starlet joined the Hoops at 12 and made his name as a striker.
But Brendan Rodgers converted the Scotland U-21 attacker to a left-back following his arrival at Parkhead.
BRAGGING RIGHTS Celtic 0 Rangers 2 – Gers reserves grab victory in Glasgow Derby with Glenn Middleton double
Senior appearances: 56
The 21-year-old is currently starring for Morton on loan in the Scottish Championship.
Robby – a regular in the Scotland youth ranks – is tipped to have a huge future in the game by Gers No1 Allan McGregor and was taken to Spain last summer for the club’s pre-season training camp.
Senior appearances: 7
The right-back, 19, was handed his first-team debut by Steven Gerrard in January in the Scottish Cup win over Cowdenbeath before being shipped out on loan to Airdrie.
The East Kilbride lad – who battled back from a career-threatening injury at the age of 13 – is under contract until next summer.
Ross and Robby McCrorie have been tipped for big things at Ibrox
Senior appearances: 29
Midfielder Lyon, 21, joined League Two outfit Clyde last summer after leaving Gers.
He spent last season on loan at Stranraer in Scottish football’s third tier, scoring twice in 13 games.
Senior appearances: 16
Ashmore, 20, was released shortly after the Youth Cup Final loss to Celtic.
A move to Ross County didn’t work out and he’s now at Stirling Albion after a spell with Stranraer.
Ross McCrorie (Captain)
Senior appearances: 78
The impressive 21-year-old gifted Celts a goal at Hampden two years ago after a mix-up with twin brother Robby.
But he’s gone from strength to strength since the Old Firm Youth Cup Final, making his mark in the Rangers first-team in midfield under Pedro Caixinha, Graeme Murty and Steven Gerrard.
Earlier this year the Liverpool legend said: “He needs to just trust us and his game time will come.”
McCrorie has captained Scotland U-21s and it would be a huge shock if he didn’t earn full international honours.
Senior appearances: 15
The centre-back, 20, played two first-team games under Pedro Caixinha in 2017 but hasn’t appeared since.
Wilson – under contract until 2020 – spent the first half of this season on loan at Forfar in League One.
Max Ashmore in action for Stirling Albion in January
Senior appearances: 22
The 19-year-old striker joined Morton on loan in January alongside Robby McCrorie.
Has yet to hit the net for Jonatan Johansson’s side but struck three times in nine games for Stenhousemuir in League Two last season.
Senior appearances: 31
The Cumbernauld youngster, 20, is impressing on loan at Raith Rovers in League One after a spell in English football’s fourth-tier with Bury.
Appeared nine times in the Rangers first-team in 2017.
Zak Rudden celebrates Falkirk strike against Morton
Senior appearances: 32
Rudden, 19, has caught the eye of Steven Gerrard with 11 goals in 28 games on loan at Falkirk this season.
Last month the Light Blues boss said: “He could have stayed here and been quite comfortable, but he has gone out to test himself and has done extremely well.
“He is someone who is very selfless and works his socks off. I see a future here for Zak.”
[article-rail-section title=”Most Read” posts_category=”3″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /]
Senior appearances: 4 (in the Checkatrade Trophy for Chelsea U-21s)
Along with Celtic wonderkid Karamoko Dembele, the 17-year-old is Scottish football’s brightest prospect.
Struggled to get into the game two years ago as Celts dominated, but still showed some nice touches.
Agonisingly for Rangers fans, the playmaker completed his move to Chelsea less than a month after the 2017 Youth Cup Final.
Gilmour – named the Revelation of the Tournament at Toulon last summer – is already a Scotland U-21 regular and in September revealed his dream was to become one of the best players in the world.
Gilmour holds off Celtic’s Mark Hill
The Scotland U-21 midfielder is progressing nicely at Stamford Bridge
Gers kid Atakayi is on loan in Finland
Senior appearances: 7
The pacy forward, 20, joined Finnish outfit SJK Seinajoki on loan two weeks ago.
Atakayi – who joined Gers from FF Jaro in 2016 – made his Light Blues bow earlier this season as a substitute in a 7-1 hammering of Motherwell.
He says: “Steven Gerrard has told me he thinks I can play for the first-team next season.”
Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers from Scottish football plus fixtures, results and live match commentary
[bc_video video_id=”6025875768001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Rangers stars hit dancefloor in hilarious night out video shared on Snapchat by goalie Andy Firth”]