ANTHONY Ralston was charged with the task of shackling football’s most expensive player in his UEFA Champions League debut for Celtic against Paris Saint-Germain last week.
And despite the Hoops’ 5-0 defeat to the French superstars, the 360 Sports client proved himself to be a more than capable defender with a very bright future in the game.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers put his faith in the 18-year-old to man-mark Brazilian sensation Neymar, and he repaid his gaffer by restricting the Samba star’s influence for large spells on a difficult night in Glasgow.
That Neymar eventually put the ball in the back of the Celt’s net was almost an irrelevance. Not an indictment on Ralston’s skills but rather further proof that Neymar really is a special talent. £200m worth of star power in two tricky feet.
But Ralston, a Scotland under-21’s international, received widespread plaudits for his performance. Having played just six times for Celtic’s first team, he could have been forgiven for shrinking under the floodlights of Parkhead. Instead, Celtic appear to have unearthed another homegrown gem who flourishes in the pressure situations.
The youngster followed up his Champions League outing with another 90 minutes for the Hoops against Ross County in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday afternoon – playing his part in a terrific 4-0 win.
He even came close with a strike that cannoned off the post, but it wasn’t to be. A goal would have been the icing on the cake in terms of dream months for the 18-year-old – who will have to settle for just his Champions League debut, a Scotland under-21’s clean sheet against the Netherlands and an impressive performance against County.
Blog by Mark Hendry for 360 Sports Consultancy