Jan 11 2012 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
CELTIC are tracking Airdrie strike sensation Ryan Donnelly.
And SPL rivals Dundee United have also registered their interest in the young forward who has scored a staggering 24 goals in 25 games so far this season.
Former Motherwell captain Chris McCart, now Celtic’s head of youth, was part of a three-man delegation who watched Donnelly in the Monklands derby win over Albion Rovers.
There was further representation from the Glasgow giants on Saturday for Airdrie’s Scottish Cup clash against Dundee United, which saw Donnelly net twice during a 6-2 defeat.
Airdrie boss Jimmy Boyle has huge confidence in the 20-year-old and believes he has the potential to score goals anywhere.
But the manager again stated that the player is in no hurry to leave New Broomfield – and that the club was in no rush to sell.
“I’m not at all surprised,” Boyle told Advertiser Sport when asked about Celtic’s interest. “Everybody is looking for goalscorers.
“If you get to Celtic, Rangers or Dundee United, with the players they have, they will create chances and someone like Ryan will score goals in that team.
“It’s maybe that he just needs to be given a chance.
“I believe that, if he went to a higher level and worked hard, he’d score goals with quality players round about him.
“Teams from down south have been looking at him as well. Maybe that’s where he’ll end up. But he’s here right now and we’re delighted with that, so we’ll keep setting him challenges.”
The manager added: “Ryan had three chances in the game [against Dundee United] and scored two. That says a lot.
“We have every confidence in him but it was good for him to know that he can score against SPL opposition.
“Full-time football would bring him on, both physically and mentally. He would get stronger.”
Dundee United gaffer Peter Houston is an admirer of Donnelly but suggested a lack of finance may scupper hopes of a bid from Tannadice.
He said: “There are good players in the lower leagues. I look at the boy Donnelly and he’s a finisher.
“No doubt, there will be SPL teams watching the young lad, myself included.
“But my budget is getting cut again and I have got to make sure that I’ve a balance there.”
Meanwhile, Northern Irish keeper Paul McKane has left the club by mutual consent, with veteran Alan Combe a possible replacement.
The 24-year-old has suffered knee ligament damage which is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.
*THIS week’s Airdrie United lottery numbers are as follows: 2, 6, 13 and 23.
The draw is sponsored by All Waste Recycling & Hire Ltd of Carlisle Road, Airdrie.