Timothy Weah: US call-up may scupper my Hampden dream

Timothy Weah flies the American flag after Celtic's win over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final.Timothy Weah flies the American flag after Celtic's win over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Timothy Weah flies the American flag after Celtic's win over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Timothy Weah grabbed one of the goals which set Celtic on their way to the Scottish Cup final when he scored on his debut as they began their campaign with a 3-0 win over Airdrie back in January.

The teenage striker would love to play a part in next month’s showpiece occasion against Hearts at Hampden but has admitted a club-versus-country conflict could rule him out of the day when Celtic will attempt to lift the famous old trophy for a third successive year for the first time in their history.

Despite already being a full international, Weah is still eligible to play for the United States squad which will participate in the Fifa under-20 World Cup Finals in Poland this summer.

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If the 19-year-old is called up, he would miss the Scottish Cup Final on 25 May as the USA’s opening group match is against Ukraine the previous day.

Weah is now waiting to learn if USA national team manager Gregg Berhalter, left, agrees to under-20 coach Tab Ramos’ request to include the Paris Saint-Germain loanee in his World Cup squad. Berhalter may opt instead to retain Weah for the senior squad who will take part in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament from 15 June to 7 July.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Weah. “I didn’t really know about the situation until I saw it mentioned in the US media. I guess Celtic has to discuss it with the national team.

“I would love to play in the Scottish Cup final for Celtic but it’s a World Cup as well for the national team which is also a big deal. It’s up to the club and the national team to discuss which one is better for me.

“Hopefully, whatever happens, the guys will go to Hampden and pull off the victory. It would be good to be a part of it but we’ll wait and see what happens.”

Weah got his first taste of a major domestic cup final in August last year, albeit the Trophee des Champions (French Super Cup) was relocated to Shenzhen in China in a bid to widen the marketing appeal of French club football.

It proved to be a memorable occasion for Weah who lined up alongside stellar names such as Gianluigi Buffon, Angel di Maria and Neymar for Paris Saint-Germain against Monaco and scored the final goal in his club’s 4-0 victory in front of over 40,000 spectators.

“That was my first senior final so it went really well, especially with scoring a goal,” said Weah. “To be on the pitch with such good players was amazing. I’d played in a couple of finals for the PSG youth team before that, so I know what the pressure can be like in those kind of games especially when you’re playing for a big club who are the favourites to win.

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“The pressure could be on us the same way in the Scottish Cup final because we’re forced to make the play against Hearts. But I feel like we will get the job done.”

Weah was again restricted to a substitute appearance as Celtic reached the final with their 3-0 victory over nine-man Aberdeen at Hampden last Sunday.

But despite having made just three starts in his 15 outings since joining the Scottish champions on a six-month loan deal from PSG in January, Weah is content with his role as part of a squad on the verge of completing a remarkable treble treble of domestic trophies. “It’s always amazing to break records and this team has been amazing so far,” he added. “I’m just happy to be a part of the club and happy to be a part of the experience. I’m happy to potentially be a player who could be written down in the history books. It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before so it’s wonderful.

“I feel like it’s an honour because the triple treble has never been done before. To be a part of the team that does it would be amazing. I thank God for blessing us so much and we have the opportunity to finish the season and become a historic team.

“We were fortunate that Aberdeen got two red cards in the semi-final but it was a good performance from us regardless of that. We know that we have to play 100 per cent in games like that.

“When we played them in the league at Celtic Park last month it didn’t go so well when we drew 0-0, but, in the semi, we showed why we’re the best team in the league and No 1 in Scotland. We just have to continue winning and go into the final with a lot of confidence.”

Weah believes the Celtic squad deserve credit for not being adversely affected by the sudden departure of Brendan Rodgers as manager in February, remaining on course to retain both the Premiership and Scottish Cup under interim boss Neil Lennon.

“The guys are professionals and we know that whatever happens outside of the field happens and we just had to stay focused on winning the league and getting trophies and doing it for the supporters,” said Weah. “Our captain Scott Brown has led us the right way. We’re just going step by step and we’re into the final now so we need to finish the job, win the league early and just finish season well.”

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