World Sport

Celtic new boy Timothy Weah on being born with a silver spoon, his dad George and being a clean living boy

Unlike every other 18-year-old player, his following included the first lady of Liberia and her bodyguard, a giant of a man who looked as if he could take down the All Blacks all on his own. Only dad, President George, was missing.

Celtic’s new signing does not have the usual backstory.

There is something else different about this impressive teenager. His maturity shamed and impressed the assembled Scottish press pack in Dubai, as did the way he dealt with questions about his family, questions he must have been asked a thousand times.

The message Weah wanted to get over was that PSG and now Celtic didn’t want him because the old man happened to be decent in his day. He’s in Glasgow, via Paris and New York where he grew up, because he’s a good player.

Weah said: “I guess I would use one word to describe myself: determined. I don’t really like to give up a lot. I’m a hard worker. People believe that I was fed with a silver spoon in my mouth but I fought for everything I have.

“Going to BW Gottschee to Red Bull to PSG to Celtic, I fought for that. My dad is not on the field playing for me.

“It’s hard, you know, having a father who’s done what he’s done. You have to be yourself and express yourself. Determination is what I need to use to come here to Celtic and prove myself and fight.”

So, is having a seriously famous football surname a burden?

Weah insisted: “No. No, no, no. It’s a blessing. I would say it’s a blessing because for me as a player it pushes me to be better and to live up to that name. I feel like God blessed me with this name for a reason and it’s up to me to put two and two together to become the player I can be.”

“It’s been a long wait, but I’m happy and grateful to be here with this beautiful club and I’m honoured to be able to have the clover of Celtic across my heart. It’s a true blessing because I went hard times these past few months with not playing and watching from the sidelines.

“It’s always going to come up (who his dad is and I don’t pay much attention to it. I try to keep a level head and not listen to what everyone else has to say, just to my parents.

“They say to play my own style of game and let people know who I am. Just fight for your spot and your opportunity and that’s what I’ve come to Celtic to do.”

Weah said all the right things. Words ultimately count for little but if he’s as intelligent and thoughtful on the field as he was in a Dubai hotel yesterday, then Celtic might be onto a winner.

He said: “It’s fantastic to get an offer from such a great club and a historic club to represent.

“I’m only 18, but, at the same time, I have high expectations of myself. I know I can push myself to be able to get minutes and time with the big boys (at PSG). I know I can do it and that’s what sets me off sometimes.

“But it’s all a learning experience and it’s all about maturing. I feel these last few months have really moulded me into a better player and a much-more mature young man.”

That he is. It would be a surprise if Glasgow’s temptations, and there are many, are the downfall of this level-headed character.

Weah doesn’t do bling, despite being the son of a President, and it was amusing too watch him check mum was okay after his media duties were fulfilled.

He said: “Being an 18 year-old ‘football player’ – among the best 18 year-olds in the world, as some people might say – there are temptations. There are girls, there’s going out to parties, there’s doing this, there’s doing that, there is drinking and blah blah blah.

“But at the end of the day it all comes down to maturity and what you have to do as a man to reach that next level.

“You have to be disciplined and make sacrifices. Even if you are the type of person that wants to party all the time, you can’t, because your sport is important.

“If we didn’t have this we’d be in school doing regular stuff. So you should look at this as a blessing, being able to do something you love. I cherish this so much and that’s how I look at it and how I live that life.”

Weah was keen to point out that he didn’t have security, nor need a burly minder, as he was trying to be as normal as possible.

Well, as normal as a PSG players whose dad runs his country.

Weah said: “I don’t look at all that. I don’t have security. My parents do. I live like a normal 18 year old playing football in Europe. I try to keep my life fairly simple. That’s important to me. Staying humble is really important: being humble, praying to God, being faithful, all that stuff will help me in the long run.

“That’s the lifestyle that I like to live, I don’t know if other people like to live like that but I do. Not do too much, just be yourself, show you’re a genuine and sincere person and all good things will happen for you.”

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