Hoop Dreams for Irish under-15 skipper snapped up by Celtic
Irish under-15 captain Brandon Payne is on his way to Celtic after the SPL giants agreed to sign the highly-rated youngster from Lucan United.
Payne won’t hook up with the Hoops until this time next year after putting pen to paper on a pre-contract agreement that will see him join Celtic on a three year deal from next January.
The Hoops are believed to have fought off competition from a host of big clubs across the water to seal the signature of Payne, who is the current captain of the Irish under-15 side and renowned as an exceptional box-to-box midfielder.
Celtic left no stone unturned in their efforts to secure Payne’s signature as Brandon and his family were brought over to Celtic and met with manager Neil Lennon and Chief Executive Peter Lawwell before the deal was confirmed.
Commenting on Payne’s signing, Celtic´s Head of Youth, Chris McCart told the club’s website: "We had been monitoring Brandon, and there had been real interest in him from a lot of the English clubs, so it was great credit to get someone of his calibre signed.
"He is a very good standard, with being captain of the Republic of Ireland Under-15s, and is the type of player we want to bring to Celtic.
"Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon were both involved in the signing process. We brought his family across and they were absolutely delighted with that, and the manager also brought him in for a small part of the training.
"His father and family are massive Celtic fans so it was a dream come true for them to come over and meet Neil Lennon and the first-team staff. It´s a great selling point for us in Ireland that there is that attachment to Celtic there. He really is signing for his boyhood heroes.
"Brandon is still young and has a lot of hard work ahead, and everyone appreciates that, but considering the amount of English clubs who were trying to sign him, this is an excellent signing for us."
By signing for a club with such strong Irish links, Payne will soon be living the dream of many aspiring footballers in this country and given his role with youth footballers in the club, there is a good chance that Donegal manager Jim McGuinness could have a big part to play in his development in Scotland.
We wish him all the best.