Saturday, February 4, 2023

Celtic Loanee Shines On League Two Debut: What Should He Do To Regain His Status At Parkhead?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

It takes immense talent to become the youngest ever player to represent a club of Celtic’s stature in a competitive outing. Jack Aitchison not only did so at the age of 16 years and 71 days but also marked it in the history book by scoring with his first touch in a 7-0 win against Motherwell.

This, however, took place back in May 2016 and the youngster, who could have cemented his place in the Hoops’ first-team by now, has struggled to build on his early success ever since. He spent his time with the reserves and a couple of loan spells with Dumbarton and Alloa Athletic in the lower leagues of Scotland did not work out either.

Aitchison, now 19, still has time to make up lost ground and the season-long switch to Forest Green Rovers in the English League Two is going to be absolutely crucial for the teenager to stake a claim in Neil Lennon’s first-team plans. The deadline day move to Gloucestershire was low-key, but the Scotsman has made his mark within ten minutes of his introduction on Saturday afternoon.

His solitary goal sealed all three points for Rovers on the road against Cambridge United, and the young sensation almost doubled his team’s lead in the closing seconds only to be denied by the woodwork. Such astounding debut should see him securing a starting role next weekend, and the high-flying centre-forward must bring his career back on track shaking off past disappointment.

What’s Next For The Young Ace

The Scotland youth international prefers to play as a centre-forward or second striker but is known for his flexibility high up the pitch having featured down the wide as well as in a ‘number 10’ role. Aitchison came on to replace Dayle Grubb on the right flank and exhibited his excellence with pace, power and swift footwork. He has adjusted to life in England and must focus on playing a crucial part in the Green Army’s bid to climb up to the third tier of English football.

Does He Have A Future At Celtic?

The Hoops, meanwhile, are well equipped in the attacking third at this moment. Odsonne Edouard, Vakoun Issouf Bayo and Leigh Griffiths are fighting for the ‘number 9’ role to spearhead the attack whereas the likes of Mikey Johnston, James Forrest, Scott Sinclair, Marian Shved, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Lewis Morgan have bolstered the champions on the wing.

Aitchison, therefore, won’t be able to break into their current set-up immediately and might have to experience game-time elsewhere for at least a couple of years more before knocking the door at his boyhood club.

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