Scotland’s famous Celtic Football Club has chosen Nerang to forge an official sister-club partnership in a move aimed to foster growth and positive development for junior players at both clubs.
Nerang is the only club in Queensland to secure a Celtic Academy deal.
Celtic have recognised the Nerang club’s legacy and junior-development ethos, seizing an opportunity to form the alliance, which will be kicking off with a specialist Celtic Coaching Clinic to be held at the Nerang home grounds during the first week of the Easter school holidays.
The coaching clinic will be staffed by world-class Celtic FC coaches who are flying to the Gold Coast from Scotland to offer their mentorship and training experience to Gold Coast junior players.
Celtic are the current Scottish Premier League champions.
Director of the Academy of Football Australia Gary Scott - based at the Nerang club - said it took five years to broker a successful deal.
“We had a chat for a good while, and then Tony Massie, Celtic’s Soccer Academy Manager, came over to Australia, where we had further detailed conversations about how the partnership will work and what’s expected of each club,” Scott said.
“This of course includes a Celtic Coaching Clinic to be held during the Easter school holidays at our club here at Nerang, where local players from any club on the Gold Coast can get expert mentorship and a week of coaching from top Celtic coaching staff.
Celtic FC’s International Soccer Academy Manager, Tony Massie, said the relationship was an exciting opportunity for both clubs.
“We’re delighted to add Nerang Soccer Club to our International Partnership Program and it again emphasises our commitment to building relationships across the globe,” announced Massie.
"We look forward to having our coaches travel across to the Gold Coast to support the venture and to seeing the partnership grow over time,” he added.
Despite Celtic’s world-wide fan base being estimated at almost 10 million fans, the club is reaching out to Nerang in the hopes that not only their brand of football can be instilled here with Gold Coast junior footballers, but also their club’s pride and strong work ethic.
Nerang’s Gary Scott and his coaching assistant Darrell Olive recently returned from a special-invite trip to Scotland for the Celtic International Coaching Convention.
“They did tell us that they are actually on the lookout for future Champion’s League (UEFA) players, not just first division players – players who can actually take it to that next level again – which I found fascinating,” Scott said.
“Celtic are really looking forward to this relationship and they see this as their first tentative steps into Australia.