Celtic’s head of youth, Chris McCart, believes that the legacy of Tommy Burns has been lived out through the structure of the club’s academy.

It was Burns who had the initiative of delivering a facility that combined coaching with education, a philosophy that has been implanted through Celtic’s partnership with St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch.

Youth players are given the chance to train in the morning at Lennoxtown before then heading to lessons before a return to the club’s training round again in the evening. It is understood, too, that Brendan Rodgers’ made a visit to the school last year to talk to the young players and cast his own eye over how the hand-in-hand football with education system works.

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"There is still a very strong influence of Tommy at the club,” said McCart.

"Brendan [Rodgers] speaks very highly of him and he had a strong influence on him when they were at Reading.”

Celtic’s young players will replicate the demands of the first-team this season by participating in their own Champions League campaign as they take part in the prestigious UEFA Youth League.

It will mean home and away games against the academy sides of PSG, Anderlecht and Bayern Munich, although frustratingly the opening game against PSG will held at 5pm next Tuesday will mean that fans who might have went along to the game will be set for Celtic Park for the first-team fixtures.

There is an argument to say that the experience in these fixtures helped the likes of Anthony Ralston and Calvin Miller as they have come to the fore over the last few months.

And while there is a tendency to look towards Kieran Tierney as an obvious posterboy when it comes to pinpointing the success of Celtic’s academy, McCart was keen to point out the numbers who have graduated to a career in professional football, even if they found their chances limited at Celtic.

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“In a 15-year period Celtic has produced 18 of our own Champions League players from the academy and our main purpose is to develop players who can perform at this level,” explained McCart.

“During that same time frame, 54 academy graduates made their competitive debuts for Celtic and 168 of them went on to have professional careers elsewhere.

“Those stats are incredible and that’s reflected within the SFA and their Project Brave MPOs – the measurable performance outcomes – which show that Celtic is No.1 when it comes to producing players.”

And while there is always a tendency to reflect that there is a cyclical nature to players coming through, McCart insists it can be environmental too.

“I think it’s cultural as well,” he said. “It’s the processes that happen every day. We’ve got a fantastic part5nership with St Ninian’s that’s been running for eight years. Our young players from the ages of 12 to 16 train nine to 10 times per week. They are up at 5.30am every morning.

“They are on the training ground at 7.30am. The dedication is second to none.

‘We’ve now got a management team as well who are wanting to drag the best young players up and give them opportunities.

“Ultimately the best academy manager is our present first-team manager. He is putting a lot of work in and is now starting to select the ones he thinks are ready and is prepared to put them in at vital times.

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“It definitely helps that he was a youth coach. He’s got empathy with every academy coach whether they are doing seven a side football, or five a side and no matter what age group.

‘He started off as an under nine coach, worked his way through and educated himself in different areas away from football.”

And McCart believes that exposure to other European teams and how they play can only enhance the learning experience from those at the underbelly of the club.

“That exposes us to different types of football,” he said. “As I said, our aim is to develop Champions League footballers and this replicates that in terms of the travel and the various systems we come up against.

“It has the same relevance to the kids as it does for the first team playing against PSG. The difference between what we and they invest in our academies is probably similar to the spending on the respective first teams.

“We’re playing against the very best and they’ll want to prove themselves. Obviously, we also want to win but it’s not always about that.

“The experience that Anthony Ralston, Calvin Miller and Michael Johnson got last year helped them get into the first team this season and acquit themselves very well.

“We’ve come up against Alexis Sanchez in the past and clubs take these Under-19 games very seriously. UEFA regard them as a major part in the development of young players, bridging the gap between league football and the elite level.”