Celtic's England star shows Man City's Cieran Slicker the route to the top

Coming through the Manchester City ranks, Cieran Slicker looked up to Joe Hart. But, while his hero managed to accumulate 75 caps for England, the Oldham-born goalkeeper chose to represent Scotland.

The Celtic keeper remains a key influence on the 19-year-old who is trying to make his way to the top of the game.

Making his second Scotland U-21 start against Denmark on Thursday, things did not go to plan, as he failed to deal with a Gustav Isaksen strike which ultimately settled the outcome of the European Championship qualifier.

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But he can learn from that and believes that having done well to contain the top seeds to a 1-0 win, when Scot Gemmill’s side take on Kazakhstan and Belgium in next month’s double-header they will go into those matches with confidence.

Scotland U-21 keeper Cieran Slicker was a dejected man after conceding the only goal of the match in the European Championship qualifier against Denmark. Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group

“I should have saved it. It cost us, but I think I learned from it. As a team, I think there's a lot of positives to take from the game and it was all about forgetting about the goal for me.

“I thought I did all right for the rest of the game. But I know for a keeper it's all about that one moment.

"But, I can take a lot from this experience. I think playing a team like Demark is the highest level you can get at our age group so, for me, having that exposure is great,

“Bringing it back to my club, playing at Under 23s level, this gives me a great boost.

“Joe was my hero growing up. When I was younger I was a ballboy at City so I used to watch him up close. I tried picking up as much as I could.

"Over the past few years, I have spoken to him quite a lot. I was lucky enough to be able to be in a position to do that and Joe is a great guy and a great goalkeeper, with a great career behind him.

"His advice to me was to try and play as many first team games as I could and to never give up. He told me to try and get first team exposure and that's what I am looking to do now but, for me, playing for Scotland U-21s is the equivalent of playing at first team level.”

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