Jack Aitchison notched yet another goal for Celtic’s reserves yesterday, but just when will he make the step-up?
Make no mistake, Celtic have done the right thing with the youngster. He made his Celtic debut aged 16, and scored against Motherwell in Ronny Deila’s final game as Hoops manager.
Since then, however, Aitchison has made only another two substitute appearances for the club. Those came against Partick Thistle and Hearts last year respectively. He’s yet to add to that solitary goal against Motherwell, but that’s highly-forgivable given his age and lack of first-team opportunities.
It feels like Aitchison has been around forever. His goal against Motherwell was over two-and-a-half years ago now. He’s spent the rest of the time honing his craft with the reserves.
There was a disappointing loan spell for him at Dumbarton that he failed to take. He made just four appearances for them at the start of the season. After that, he left the Championship side for unknown reasons.
Celtic’s youngest ever goalscorer certainly has some experience to his name at youth level, however. He’s a frequent performer and goalscorer for the Hoops in the UEFA Youth League. Added to that, he’s one of the first names on the reserve team-sheet each match.
You have to wonder, however, when he’s going to get more opportunities at the club given he’s rated so highly. At 18, there’s still plenty of time, but fans will want to see more of him.
Striker cover required
Celtic, at the moment, are playing with just one available striker in Odsonne Edouard. He could certainly use a hand, and you would’ve thought now would be the best time for Aitchison to give him that help.
Perhaps Brendan Rodgers feels this isn’t a scenario in which the youngster would benefit from. Celtic desperately need to string some wins together before the Winter break, and the pressure is on. It’s understandable if the Hoops manager wants to protect Aitchison from that.
But there will come a point where Leigh Griffiths returns and Celtic sign another one or two strikers. At that stage, Aitchison will again be frozen out of the squad.
Another loan deal is more likely than him being given any sort of chance at Parkhead for now. That would probably be best for him at this stage given the severity of the situation at Celtic.
Here’s hoping, however, that one of Celtic’s most promising youngsters can seriously make the grade when it comes to it.