Jim Magilton happy to put faith in teenage striker attracting interest from Celtic and Premier League clubs

A picture of Cliftonville’s Ryan Corrigan celebrating his goal against Larne
-Credit: (Image: Stephen Hamilton/Inpho)

Jim Magilton says he has no qualms about throwing teenage striker Ryan Corrigan into the action.

The 17-year-old repaid the Cliftonville boss' faith in him by bagging a goal in the Charity Shield clash with Larne on Friday night. That strike against the Irish Premiership champions further enhanced Corrigan's glowing reputation.

The young forward has quickly climbed the ladder over the last 12 months after starring for County Antrim in last year's SuperCupNI. He played a key role as Cliftonville Strollers were crowned NIFL Academy League U18 champions last season before scoring for Northern Ireland in their Northern Ireland Under-17s Euro 2024 Elite Round Qualifying mini-tournament victory over Hungary.

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Magilton has fast-tracked the talented teen into first team duties at Solitude, but with interest mounting in the player he may not have him around for long. Celtic currently have him on trial with four Premier League clubs also monitoring the situation.

The Reds boss is determined to give his young star as much game time as possible. "Ryan Corrigan is a great player and I’m delighted with him," said Magilton.

“Ryan is one for now, not just the future. We are trying to give him more game time, he’s a super young player.

“I have had a history as a manager of throwing young players in. Conor Wickham I put in when he was 15 (at Ipswich Town). And I am not putting them at risk – I believe in them.

“Ryan scoring against Larne is a massive plus for us. Cian Bolger is an outstanding player physically and the kid’s movement was brilliant, he deserved a goal."

With Ben Wilson and Sam Ashford already left Solitude since the end of last season and Ronan Hale's imminent departure striking options are currently limited for the Reds. Ryan Curran's return is a big boost for Magilton, who is also looking to move in the transfer market.

“We will make one or two more signings to build on what we have," he said. “I thought the game against Larne was a fantastic workout for us, the young kids did great.

“We got Ryan [Curran] on the pitch which is huge for us and we will give him more game time. Rory (Hale) went off with a knock but it’s too early to assess it."

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