In his latest SPFL Development League scouting report, David Brockett focuses on Celtic’s attacking midfielder Aidan Nesbitt.
The teenager scored the winner on Tuesday as Celtic’s U20 side came from behind to beat Dundee 2-1 at Cappielow and maintain their winning start.
Fresh from international duty with the Scotland U19 squad in Bulgaria, where he made his first appearance since moving up from the U17s, Nesbitt may well be the next Celtic youngster to break into the first team.
Buoyed by the presence of the likes of Scott Allan, Nadir Ciftci and Anthony Stokes, it was Nesbitt who caught the eye of many.
The 18-year-old, deployed on the right of midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, put in an impressive performance under the watchful eye of assistant manager John Collins, with U20 boss Stevie Frail departing the Parkhead side last week.
The right winger, who can also play behind the striker, was Celtic’s most attacking outlet and used his pace to maximum effect. Up against Dundee full-back Kyle Clark, Nesbitt’s sheer pace was enough to see him burst for the byline or skip inside to get a shot away.
Having joined 10 years ago, Nesbitt has progressed through the youth ranks - scoring in and winning the U17 Glasgow Cup and Scottish FA Youth Cup Final in successive seasons.
Despite being played as a winger, his instinctive finishing has already seen him net five goals in just four games this season. While hugging the touchline and exploiting the channel, with the ball Nesbitt operates as an inside forward who is keen to dribble at defenders.
Nesbitt’s first touch is also an evident attribute that he utilises well. With diagonal cross-field balls aplenty, his first touch complements Celtic’s counter-attacking style of play, often taking defenders out of the game.
A designated set-piece taker, Nesbitt’s wicked delivery has the ability to trouble even the most experienced defenders. Whether it be a whipped or floated ball in, his accuracy has, and will, continue to create multiple chances for this Celtic side, who have scored 11 goals in their opening four games, conceding just one.
Despite his relatively modest height and build, he is particularly strong on the ball. He shields and holds the ball well and, while he has the ability to hold off defenders and bring others into play, was the most-fouled Celtic player on the pitch.
Having seen team-mates Eoghan O’Connell and Kieran Tierney make their first-team debuts, it seems Nesbitt is the most likely to follow in their footsteps in the next stage of his fledgling career.
Key strengths - Dribbling, first touch, acceleration, finishing, crossing.