Latest Celtic debutant Joey Dawson makes candid admission
Celtic’s latest debutant Joey Dawson has confessed he never considered the season would provide him with senior minutes on pitching up from Scunthorpe United in June.
The 18-year-old striker moved way ahead of schedule when the club’s injury and covid issues led to him replacing the stricken Kyogo Furuhashi 15 minutes into the 3-1 win for Ange Postecoglou’s men away to St Johnstone on Boxing Day. But now that has happened, the forward has redrawn entirely his footballing parameters.
“When I signed my main aim was making myself the No 1 striker for the B team, playing well and scoring goals, and for then to see what happened. I wasn’t really expecting any chances with the first team, I was just focusing on the B team,” Dawson said. “Now it’s come I want more. I want to keep pushing and I want to keep fighting for my place, whether it’s in the B team or the first team. It felt unbelievable. To go from playing at East Kilbride on Wednesday to playing for the first team on Sunday was a big jump, but that just proves you’ve got to be ready in football and take your chance when you get it. It was a surprise, to be honest. Obviously it has been a tough few days for the lads with covid cases, injuries, etc. But, like I said, you’ve got to be ready. When the manager called me down [to go on] it was just pure excitement and elation.”
It made up for the pre-game isolation period forced on Dawson by his shock call-up. “I found out last Thursday that I might not get to go home for Christmas. Tommy [McIntyre, Celtic B manager] rang me and said: ‘The first team might need you’. It was a bittersweet moment, but obviously it was all worth it,” the teenager said. “I went into training on Christmas day, but I spent the rest of it by myself. But Sunday made it all worth it without a doubt. I would do it for the next 15, 20 Christmases if I had to, if it meant feelings like I had on Sunday. [If I hadn’t been in Perth] I would have been at home spending time with the family, but it is not a bad way to spend Boxing Day is it? Coming on and making my Celtic debut? You couldn’t ask for any more.”
Well, not quite. A deft chip late on looked like it would allow him to cap his debut with a goal, only for Callum Booth to produce a goalline clearance – “I am not going to lie to you, I was absolutely devastated when the lad’s played it off the line,” Dawson said – while pandemic restrictions meant no Celtic fans were in the ground to see him take his first senior steps in the club colours. “I said that before the game: ‘How good would it have been if there had been so many Celtic fans there?’ I have experienced it first hand. I have never seen fans like them. They are unbelievable. It would have been even better to play in front of them. But there was a little pocketful up there [with the club ofFicials] so it was good to get them in.”
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