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CELT TIP PEN; SPL LATEST... Watt has his autograph down to a tee but says he's no Hoops star yet.

Byline: Anthony Haggerty

TONY WATT has perfected his autograph after becoming an instant fans' favourite but swears his name doesn't yet belong among Celtic's regulars.

Watt has started three games for Neil Lennon's side after exploding on to the scene late last season when he grabbed a double in a 4-0 win over Motherwell at Fir Park.

The Scotland Under-21 hitman bagged another brace in the 4-2 away triumph over Inverness at the start of this term and has impressed as an impact sub.

But despite his new-found recognition from both halves of the Old Firm divide, Watt revealed he won't consider himself a Hoops star until he has started 30 matches for the club.

The 18-year-old said: "I am not a first-team regular as I have only started three games.

"You cannot call yourself a first-team player after three appearances but if I play 30 games this season maybe I will look at things differently.

"I'd never get ahead of myself and I don't go out and tell everybody I am playing every week because I'm not.

"It is there in front of me and I know I am not a first-team regular although I don't see myself as back-up, more a member of the first-team squad.

"People come up to me a lot now and I do get recognised in the streets as Glasgow is that kind of place.

"Half the supporters are Celtic fans, the other half are Rangers and it is a brilliant feeling to know you can make a lot of people proud, especially your family, through playing football.

"That is the best part of being a footballer - and people wanting to know you is different class.

"It is hard to get my head around it. Ten years ago I would have approached a footballer in the streets and thought 'Wow!' "They would have been my heroes and I want to do my bit now so that I'm recognised. I have my autograph down to a fine art now but I am not going to tell you what it looks like."

W a t t w a s speaking as he and St Mirren skipper Jim Goodwin looked ahead to the live ESPN clash on S a t u r d a y between league leaders Celtic and the Buddies in Paisley.

Celtic take on Barcelona just three days later but Watt insists his side's focus is solely on defeating Danny Lennon's men.

He said: "People say that all the time but you can only play what is put in front of you.

"St Mirren are the next team up for Celtic and if we don't beat them we will go into the Barcelona game on a downer so we need to win this match.

PING "I am massively ahead of where I thought I would be at this stage of the season as I reckoned I would be in the reserves or out on loan.

"I scored my first Under-21 goal at St Mirren Park and also netted a couple in the Youth Cup last season so it has been a good ground for me."

Watt admitted he has been winding up Saints midfielder Kenny McLean all week in Marbella where the pair were part of the Scotland Under-21s' get-together.

He said: "I told Kenny I was going to put him up in the air from the stand!

"Kenny is a brilliant player who has a good ping on him and his diagonal passing is excellent. He will probably make the step up as he is doing well every week in the SPL.

"We seem to have bonded on the Scotland Under-21 trips and I have only known him for a few months.

"Kenny does not have a brain and is a bit like me in that respect - he is a good laugh and just a normal guy."

CAPTION(S):

ONE SMART Z ROOKIE Tony Watt has made a big impression at Celtic and, above, promotes Saturday's live ESPN clash with St Mirren skipper Jim Goodwin
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 18, 2012
Words:672
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