Why aren't we seeing Jack Aitchison in the Celtic first-team?

By David Walton

March 6, 2019

Celtic’s 6-0 reserve win over Dundee yesterday included yet another brace from young hotshot Jack Aitchison.

The striker currently holds the record for Celtic’s youngest ever scorer. That came in a 7-0 rout of Motherwell back in 2016, when he was just 16-years and 71 days old.

Since then, we’ve only seen Aitchison rarely. He’s made two further appearances in the 2016/17 season against Hearts and Partick Thistle at Parkhead respectively. In the Hearts contest, he even won a penalty as he continued to make a positive impression.

But fast forward nearly three years since his debut, and the 19-year-old is still to make a big breakthrough.

Jack Aitchison is flourishing in the reserves (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

So the initial question has to be why he’s yet to get consistent game-time in the first team. Even at this early stage, however, it looks as though the answer could be that he’s struggled with his loan moves.

This season, Aitchison has had his chances to impress away from Lennoxtown. Moves to Dumbarton and Alloa have seen him make nine appearances without scoring a goal.

The youngster has yet to even earn a start with Alloa since moving there in January. This came after his short Dumbarton spell was cut short after just four outings with the Sons.

In Alloa’s last two matches, Aitchison hasn’t featured at all. He failed to come off the bench in Alloa’s last match – a 2-1 win at Queen of the South. In the previous game at home to Partick Thistle, Aitchison wasn’t even on the bench.

Reserve form hypocritical of his senior form

Meanwhile, he’s been in sensational form for the Celtic reserves. He’s hit eight goals for the second-string this season, with his latest two coming in yesterday’s 6-0 win over Dundee.

There’s no denying at that level that Aitchison is probably a cut above. He has terrific feet, a quick brain, and a bullet of a left foot. His finishes for the reserves this season have been well taken, and he just seems to flourish playing in the Reserve League.

Aitchison has been developing under the wings of Kolo Toure and Tommy McIntyre (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

But Celtic must be looking at his senior outings in the Championship and scratching their heads.

The club will surely be looking from big things for Aitchison in the future. He has all the attributes to be a success at Celtic.

But in order to do that, he needs to prove that he can cope with the demands of senior football. So far, his spells at Dumbarton and Alloa haven’t yet shown that.

There’s still plenty of time for Aitchison, who’s, as mentioned, only 19-years of age. But it’s time for the youngster to start showing that goalscoring prowess in senior football.