In his quest to become a first-team regular with Aberdeen, Dean Campbell can take inspiration from those around him.
This term has been a breakthrough one for the teenage Dons midfielder.
Campbell made his first start for the Reds in the 2-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final win against Rangers at Ibrox, a fortnight ago, as well as appearing on five other occasions off the bench.
For the 18-year-old the goal is to become a regular in Derek McInnes’ team.
That is motivation enough – but should Campbell need any more he only need look around the dressing-room at Pittodrie where he will see plenty of other youth academy graduates who have travelled the same path.
Scott McKenna, 22, was given his chance in September 2017 and has since established himself as the key man in Aberdeen’s defence, and become a Scotland regular.
Winger Connor McLennan has featured 20 times for the Dons this term. The 19-year-old has been an influential player, scoring key goals such as the second in the recent cup win at Ibrox.
Another winger, Scott Wright, 21, now on loan at Dundee, has made over 50 appearances for the Reds. And striker Bruce Anderson, 20, featured 17 times this season before being loaned to Championship Dunfermline in January.
Seeing all these players of similar age make an impact in the first team has helped Campbell in his mission to do the same.
He said: “It’s really good to see players like Scott McKenna, Connor McLennan and others get their chance.
“It shows it is possible to breakthrough as a young player at the club.
“You just have to be patient, work hard and when you get an opportunity try to impress the manager.
“That could be in training or it could be when the manager comes to watch a reserve team game.
“Patience is an important thing because a chance will come – it is just about trying to take it.
“Scott McKenna has progressed so quickly and he is the prime example for all youth team players. He’s had a few setbacks in his career and he has pulled through them and come out a stronger player.
“He is someone who has been playing for Aberdeen, for Scotland and people have been speaking about him going to an even higher level.
“That shows every youth player what is possible in the game.”
Campbell believes a lot of the success young players have had at Aberdeen is down to their nurturing through the youth academy.
But he also says Dons boss McInnes should be praised for the faith he has in homegrown talent.
In the 0-0 Premiership draw with Celtic at Parkhead earlier this month five youth academy graduates featured.
Andy Considine, McKenna and McLennan started with Campbell and 17-year-old winger Ethan Ross coming off the bench.
Campbell added: “It’s brilliant to see the faith the manager has in young players.
“In the recent game against Celtic there were five or six academy graduates on the park at one time.
“So that is a credit to the youth academy that they have brought through so many players to the first team. Long may it continue.”
Campbell is one of the stars of the reserve team and believes gaffer Paul Sheerin has played a big role in his development.
Former Dons midfielder Sheerin has shown faith in Campbell in the reserves and due to his position with McInnes’ first-team staff he is well placed to advise Campbell on what is required to make it in the top team.
He said: “Paul is very helpful. I’ve been working with him for three years now. It’s good for me because as a player he was also a left-footed central midfielder.
“But he also has that link to the first team in that he also works with them and can tell the manager about what I have been doing in reserve games that he wasn’t at.
“So it is good to work with Paul who is trying to help you get to the first team.”