Mark Wilson returns to football as U18s Head Coach at Thistle Weir Youth Academy
Former Celtic star Mark Wilson has been appointed the Thistle Weir Youth Academy’s new U18s head coach.
Wilson began his senior playing career with Dundee United in 2002, making 117 appearances for the club before joining Glasgow giants Celtic in 2006. During his six years at Celtic, the ex-defender played under then-manager Neil Lennon, chalking up 98 appearances prior to his 2012 move to Bristol City. The following year, Wilson returned to Dundee United for a two-year spell before taking up his final professional playing contract with Scottish League Two side Dumbarton in 2015.
The UEFA A Licence holder has also enjoyed success on the international stage as a former captain of Scotland’s U21 team who has represented the country at all youth levels. Since retiring from professional football, Wilson has transitioned into coaching with roles at Alloa Athletic, Airdrieonians, and Brechin City, and he has become a regular fixture on Clyde 1’s Superscoreboard.
More recently, the 39-year-old has worked with the Andy Robertson charity, AR26, as a coach and programme manager. Wilson combined the position with his responsibilities as head coach during the PFA Scotland summer exit trials, which focused on developing released footballers and helping them return to Scottish club football.
In his new role with Thistle Weir Youth Academy, Wilson will join former St Mirren, Kilmarnock, and Partick Thistle striker Craig Dargo, who was recently appointed Academy Director at the Firhill setup.
Wilson will be tasked with spearheading the development of the U18s squad and supporting players as they prepare for their entry to senior football. He commented:
“I am delighted to join the Thistle Weir Youth Academy and have really enjoyed the first couple of weeks getting to know the players out on the training pitch.
“When I first had conversations with Craig about the position, I knew this opportunity was one that really excited me. The pathway here at Thistle is one that has been established over a number of years and when you look at the players who are breaking into the first team squad — such as Ben Stanway, Zander MacKenzie, James Lyon, and Ricco Diack — then they should be an inspiration to the players currently at under 18s level and below.
“I’m highly motivated and look forward to working with the wider coaching team to help continue the development of these youngsters and give them the tools they need to reach their potential and enjoy a successful career in the game.”
TWYA Academy Director Craig Dargo said: “We’re really pleased to welcome Mark to the Thistle Weir Youth Academy, I consider it a coup for the Academy that we have managed to secure his services.
“Mark will be an asset to the strong coaching staff we already have in place, who are all equally passionate, skilled and invested in player development and the future of the Academy. It’s clear that all of our players are excited to learn from the experiences of our coaching staff and I’m delighted Mark is the latest addition to the team.”