Celtic U20s vs. Saints U20s Preview

Wednesday 25th April

Saints under 20s may have been beaten by Dundee United on Monday night, but the side’s performance hasn’t disheartened young midfielder Cammy Ballantyne.

Visitors United scored two goals against the run of play and a headed goal from captain Ali McCann wasn’t enough to rescue any points for Alex Cleland’s side.

However, the match had no shortage of positives, particularly going forward, for Cammy.

He told the club official website: “I thought we’ve done well for large periods of the game. We’ve stuck in and defended well when we’ve had to, we’ve created good chances and we’ve got to grips in the middle of the pitch -we just couldn’t put our chances to bed.

“We made a couple of slack mistakes and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t claw the game back. We’re happy with the performance though. “We work hard on getting the ball into the midfield and to our advanced players who can cause them problems. We get the ball forward and we’ve done that today, but unfortunately, we just couldn’t make it count.

“We were disappointed to be down 2-0 because we didn’t feel like that’s how the game went, but these things happen and you’ve got to dig deep. We were close in the end but we just couldn’t quite pull it back.

“We’ll recover on Tuesday and we’ll evaluate things and look back. We’ll go to Celtic on Thursday with an open mind. It’s the last game of the season and we want to end on a high. It’s a difficult place to go but we’re confident that we’ve got the boys to cause them problems.”

Cammy, who celebrated his 18th birthday the day before the match, felt the benefit of fielding a number of experienced players, including Stefan Scougall, Callum Hendry and David McMillan, all returning from injury.

He added: “It definitely helps. You’ve got the likes of Liam Gordon at the back – he helps us out massively with communication. You see guys like Callum (Hendry) and David (McMillan) coming back from injury and you can see the standard they’ve got. That’s what you aspire to be and it’s great to play alongside them.”

Like many of the development league squad, Cammy has his eye on a first team place, and seeing team mate John Robertson make his debut against Dundee on Saturday has provided even more motivation.

“It was good to see wee John (Robertson) coming on at the weekend and he did well by all accounts. When you see that it encourages you. It doesn’t make you think it won’t be you, it gives you the inspiration to go and do it yourself.

“It would be great to get a chance in the first team before the end of the season. You never really know, there’s a lot of competition at this club and there’s still a job to be done – we all know that. It would be great to see if any of the boys, not just myself, could come into the first team. They wouldn’t look out of place and it would be great for them.”

Having stepped up from the under 17s, Cammy has become a stalwart in Alex Cleland’s side and has played in a number of midfield and forward roles this season.

“I was at Hibs originally and I knew Alistair Stevenson. He brought me up here and I signed for the under 17s in my first season. I had a really good season and we won the league that year, and a lot of the boys have gone full time this summer. I progressed to the under 20s and this will be my fourth season coming up.

“I don’t mind – I’d rather play centrally, whether that’s deeper or more advanced, but I’m happy to fill in wherever Callum (Davidson) or the gaffer wants me to play. I’ll do the job wherever I can.”

Tomorrow’s Development League game against Celtic U20s takes place at Lennoxtown Training Centre, kick off 4pm.