Anthony Ralston signs Celtic contract, but should Everton keep watching?

Steve Walsh director of football at Everton during the pre-season friendly match between Barnsley and Everton at Oakwell Stadium on July 23, 2016 in Barnsley, England.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic have tied right-back Anthony Ralston down until 2022 amid reports of interest from Premier League giants Everton.

Anthony Ralston of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

Anthony Ralston was understandably delighted to commit his long-term future to Celtic.

The highly-rated right-back has signed a new four-and-a-half year contract with the Scottish champions on Thursday, telling the Daily Record that he has set his sights on securing a first-team berth under Brendan Rodgers.

That may come around sooner than later. Cristian Gamboa clearly isn’t in Rodgers’ good books while Mikael Lustig is 31 these days and cannot go on forever. Ralston, meanwhile, has forced his way into the senior squad this season, even being trusted to mark Neymar in the Champions League, and appears to be the future of the defence alongside fellow academy graduate Kieran Tierney.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar (L) gestures to Celtic's Scottish defender Anthony Ralston during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Celtic and Paris...

And his new deal will be a weight off supporters’ minds. Particularly as the Scottish Sun had stated back in September that Premier League giants Everton were weighing up a January bid for the 19-year-old.

But despite Ralston seemingly being set for a long stay at Parkhead, there is nothing to stop The Toffees from keeping tabs on the teenager. After all, they will one day need a long-term successor to Seamus Coleman and, despite some improved performances of late, the jury is still out about local lad Jonjoe Kenny (below).

Jonjoe Kenny of Everton runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park on November 29, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

Everton have spent the last year searching for some of Britain’s brightest young talents and Ralston certainly fits the bill. And perhaps another few years honing his trade at Celtic is exactly what the Belshill-born talent needs.

Tierney is improving all the time under Rodgers and has evolved into a truly elite young full-back. Ralston could do the same.

Patience, then, should be a virtue for Everton.

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