Celtic looking to benefit from proposed tie-in with Austrian side

Following on from Brendan Rodgers’ positive words about the health of the infrastructure in place at Celtic yesterday, the club are reportedly set to form a partnership with an Austrian second-tier side.

Admira Wacker are from Mödling on the outskirts of Vienna, are one of Austria’s most historic clubs with 9 Austrian Bundesliga and 6 Austrian Cups to their name.  However, a disappointing 2021/22 campaign ended in relegation to the Austrian Erste Liga where Admira finished in 10th place this season.

Reports have been circulating in Austria for the past week that Admira is close to establishing a “Cooperation with a top club that plays in the Champions League is being finalised and an announcement will be made soon.”  That club is believed to be Celtic.



The Austrian Erste Liga may not be the most glamourous of leagues at first glance, however, a cooperation agreement with Admira could prove to be advantageous to Celtic in the long-term depending on the terms of the agreement.

The most obvious benefits for Celtic include being able to increase their scouting network and player recruitment capabilities in the central and eastern regions of Europe that fall within Admira’s catchment area.  Talented players can potentially be brought into Admira’s youth academy or first team before being added to the roster at Celtic Park should they make the grade.

Like the Austrian Bundesliga itself, the Erste Liga is well-known as a development league.  Sturm Graz, Rapid, and Austria Vienna all have their second-string sides involved in the league, and actively use their B teams as a planned development stage towards first-team football.

However, the most interesting side involved in the Erste Liga is FC Liefering who are part of the Red Bull family of clubs. Liefering has been used by Red Bull in the development of star players such as Dominik Szoboszlai, Patson Daka, and Karim Adeyemi among others.

While Admira may not have the pull of a Liefering or one of the bigger Vienna clubs, there is potential that Celtic can use the link-up to tap into a market that the club has largely ignored until now.


Any cooperation agreement would also likely see Celtic send youth and B team players out on loan to Admira.  The opportunity for a player such as Ben Summers, for example, to get a full year of first-team football under his belt in a truly competitive environment, could be invaluable for his development.  Not only that, but the personal development of the players chosen to spend a season abroad at a young age can only stand them in good stead.

Although operating on a smaller scale than the Red Bull set-up, cooperation with Admira could open up increased avenues for scouting and player recruitment for Celtic.  If used correctly, there is great potential in using the link up to bring talents from Austria, Serbia, or Hungary, for example, into the Celtic.

Admira Wacker can benefit from an increase in young talents in their side being developed with the end goal of making the move to Lennoxtown and forcing their way into the first-team reckoning at Celtic.

Additionally, our own youngsters can benefit from playing abroad for a season and maybe, just maybe, we won’t lose the likes of Barry Hepburn or Liam Morrison so quickly if we can now present a more structured development plan and route to the first team.




Of course, the cooperation agreement with Admira Wacker would not be the first such agreement that Celtic have put in place over the years.

Back in 2007, it was reported that Celtic was entering into an agreement with Belgian side Oostende whereby Celtic would send three reserve players to the seaside club on loan each season.  Other than Oostende appearing as a feeder club on the 2008 version of the computer game Football Manager, that agreement appears to have failed to ever get off the ground.

Again, in 2009 a partnership was established with Hungarian NB1 side Újpest, with Marc Millar making the move on loan for the 2009/10 season.  Along with the ability to send players on loan to the Hungarian club, the nature of this agreement also allowed for the transfer of coaches between the clubs.

Part of the agreement saw Willie McStay leave his role as reserve coach at Celtic to take on the manager’s job at the Budapest club.  A softener for McStay was the promise of being a leading contender for the top job at Celtic the next time it became available.

As it turned out, Tony Mowbray’s tenure as Celtic manager was extremely short-lived and, with McStay still settling into life in Hungary, Neil Lennon was given the manager’s job on a temporary basis.  By the time McStay left Újpest in April 2010, Lennon had no place for him in his backroom staff and McStay’s chance of leading Celtic was over.

While neither agreement with Oostende or Újpest proved to be a success, there is renewed confidence that in Michael Nicholson, Celtic has a CEO capable of delivering for the club.

A cooperation with Admira Wacker would be another step forward in Celtic’s development and, if properly managed, could bear fruits for years to come.

Kevin McCluskie

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