Josh Meekings still hopes Celtic dream will come true

Josh Meekings, who is currently on trial at Terry Butcher's Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who finished seventh in the Scottish Premier League last season
Josh Meekings, who is currently on trial at Terry Butcher's Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who finished seventh in the Scottish Premier League last season

Running out to a spine-chilling rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone in front of 60,000 fans at Celtic Park could become a reality for ex-Haverhill schoolboy Josh Meekings.

The teenager defender, released from Ipswich Town over the summer, is hoping he has done enough to impress former Blues hero Terry Butcher at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

After a move to League One side Stevenage broke down in strange circumstances, after they had offered the former Samuel Ward College student a contract before seemingly retracting it, he was straight on a plane to Scotland after Butcher swooped.

The Caley Thistle manager took Meekings, 18, on trial at the Scottish Premier League club on the advice of former team-mate Russell Osman, now working at Ipswich Town’s Academy.

Meeking’s father Steve said Butcher has been impressed with his son’s showing in pre-season training after joining up with the club a week ago, but now it is almost crunch time.

“Terry Butcher has spoke to Josh a few times now and said he has done okay, but his agent is about to go over and see what the crack is.

“The Scottish Premier League would not be a bad start.”

Meekings, the under-18s captain at Ipswich Town last season, came on for fellow trialist Kerrea Gilbert, who has played in the Champions League with Arsenal, in Monday’s friendly with Highland League neighbours Clach and was due to against Forres Mechancis yesterday.

But should a move north of the border not materialise, the early pre-season in Scotland – starting a fortnight earlier than English clubs – could give Meekings a head start over other trialists looking to win themselves contracts.

Steve Meekings said: “It has been a bit of a culture shock to him up in Scotland and perhaps a bit of a reality check, but it should stand him in good stead.

“He could not be further away from home but Terry Butcher has been really good to him and it has been totally different to Stevenage where he played four times there, did really well and got as far as being offered a contract before he got a text saying it was not an offer and just to see if they could afford him.”

Meekings had roomed with Ipswich striker Connor Wickham in 2009/10 as a first year academy scholar and had become the joint-longest serving player at the club, having been with the Championship side since the age of eight.

Last season saw him captain a side featuring Josh Carson, who broke into Paul Jewell’s first team towards the end of the campaign. Meekings has also come up against Arsenal star and Jack Wilshere in his time at the Ipswich Academy.

For all the latest sport see next Thursday’s (July 7) Echo.