Martin McConnell from Youth Football Scotland casts his eye over Celtic’s Joe Thomson in the latest in our series on emerging SPFL talent.
He’s still only 18, but Paisley-born midfielder Thomson has an impressive CV nonetheless. Ironically, he started his footballing career on the other side of the city with Rangers before moving to Celtic in 2009.
He first came to prominence as a 15-year-old, when he was included in some of the NextGen Series squads, then went on to impress in the 2013/14 UEFA Youth League. Later that season, he scored against Liverpool and Brazilian side Corinthians in the AEGON Future Cup.
His season didn’t end there as he captained Celtic to a Glasgow Cup Final victory against Rangers and went to the 2014 UEFA U17 European Championships as Scotland reached the semi-finals before losing to Holland.
He has gone on to represent his country 36 six times, from U15s to U19s, scoring twice in that time. Thomson has now established himself in a strong Celtic U20 side, regularly turning out in the SPFL Development League and this season’s UEFA Youth League campaign.
He made a first-team appearance in a charity match against Villarreal in 2014 and scored a memorable long range-goal against Sparta Prague during the club’s trip to Gran Canaria in January of last year. He made his league debut as a sub in a 3-1 win against Dundee United at Tannadice in August 2015.
Thomson is a talented attacking midfielder with a good football mind and the ability to help out in defence with a tackle when needed. His speed allows him to make penetrating runs from box to box, supporting the front men, and he can deliver crosses as well as goals.
In his latest U20 outing, he came up against title rivals Hamilton Accies at Broadwood on Monday and played a central role in the masterful attacking performance shown by the Celtic side, never looking out of place alongside the likes of Gary Mackay-Steven and Scott Allan.
The next step will surely be for Thomson to fight his way into Ronny Delia’s plans alongside team-mate Kieran Tierney. The young Celtic defender has led the way for this crop of hopefuls, showing youth need not be a barrier, and Thomson will surely not be too far behind.