Luca Connell revealed none of his friends had any idea he was about to be unveiled as a Celtic player.
The 18-year-old, who has represented the Republic of Ireland at various youth levels up to the Under-19s, had his move from Bolton confirmed on Saturday morning.
Connell, who can play either in defence or midfield, has signed a four-year deal at Parkhead.
📽 @lucaconnell couldn’t contain his excitement after having met up with his new teammates and watched their 2-1 pre season win in Vienna!#TurnUpTheHeat 🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/9FNSLSFgZB— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) June 29, 2019
It has been a swift progression for the Liverpool-born teenager, having come through the youth ranks at Bolton and broken into their first team in the second half of last season.
Connell, called up to the senior Ireland squad for recent Euro 2020 qualifiers, has joined his new Celtic team-mates on their pre-season tour of Austria.
“Earlier I was just sat on my phone, I did not know it was getting announced, then all of a sudden it was going everywhere,” Connell said in an interview with Celtic club media.
“I saw Celtic had put it on their Instagram, so then I understood.
“It is a huge club and support, so I am grateful for that.”
Connell added: “Not one of them (my friends) had a clue. They all thought that I was just sat (in) at mine, but I am here in a different country.
“They have all texted me and said: ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’, but it is just one of them (things) isn’t it? So it is all good support.”
Connell, who qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents, said: “It’s crazy. It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m signing for such a big club and with this much history, hopefully I can crack on and help us make more.
“I’m confident and I feel I can talk to anyone, it’s in the Scouse nature to be outgoing. I’m looking forward to all the league games and especially the Champions League.”
📰 Statement from the Joint Administrator.— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) June 29, 2019
A spokesperson for Bolton’s joint administrator said the club had sought legal advice over the move, but that a “discrepancy” in the transfer rules between England and Scotland meant there was nothing they could do to prevent it.
“We took legal advice once Luca submitted his notice of termination,” the Wanderers statement read.
“However, the discrepancy in the regulations between England and Scotland meant we had no option but to accept the situation.
“To their credit, Celtic recognised that and have agreed to pay substantially more than the financial obligations in Luca’s contract.”
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