Tyler Toland has Champions League ambitions after joining Celtic

19-year-old midfielder returns to Glasgow after being released by Man City

Tyler Toland has signed for Celtic. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tyler Toland has signed for Celtic. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

After what has been a trying year for the 19-year-old, who found herself at the centre of a very public spat between her father and Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw, Tyler Toland is now hoping for a fresh start in her career with the announcement on Friday that she has signed for Glasgow Celtic.

Toland spent last season on loan from Manchester City at Celtic’s rivals Glasgow City, with whom she won the league, but after being released this summer by the English club she looked set to remain in England, with three clubs, including Super League side West Ham, expressing an interest in signing her.

Celtic coach Fran Alonso, though, was intent on persuading the Donegal midfielder to remain in Scotland, having become a big admirer after seeing her in action for Glasgow last season. After a lengthy conversation between the pair, Toland was, indeed, persuaded.

“When I spoke to Fran I knew it was a perfect fit for me,” she said. “The way he plays his football, his training and philosophy are definitely right for me, and Celtic’s obviously a massive club and you can’t turn that opportunity down.”

Alonso, who worked under Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton and Ronald Koeman at Everton, was appointed to the Celtic job in January of last year, the same month the club announced its women’s team was turning professional, making them and Glasgow Rangers the only two Scottish clubs to have full-time women’s sides.

He promptly led Celtic to the runners-up spot in the league, three points behind Glasgow, their highest finish in over a decade. That was enough for the club to qualify for the Champions League for the first time - they play Spain’s Levante in Norway next month and, if they beat them, they take on the winners of the game between Dinamo Minsk and Rosenborg for a place in the next round of the competition.

“Having Champions League this season will be great,” said Toland, “and they’re obviously looking to compete again for the league this season, so it’s just a really great environment. The way Celtic play their football really appealed to me and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m just going to work as hard as I can and hopefully help the girls win trophies and get as much success as we can.”

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