Aberdeen interim boss Paul Sheerin has praised rising teenage right-back Calvin Ramsay for an impressive first start.
And Sheerin reckons the 17-year-old is one of an exciting crop of emerging youngsters who could have a bright future under new manager Stephen Glass.
Scotland U17 international Ramsay was pitched into the starting line-up by Sheerin in the 1-0 Scottish Cup third round away defeat of League One Dumbarton.
It was to be a bitter sweet introduction to the starting XI as Ramsay, who had shone throughout, limped off the pitch midway through the second half.
However, it was later confirmed Pittodrie Youth Academy graduate Ramsay had suffered from cramp and will be available for consideration for Saturday’s trip to St Johnstone.
Although against lower league, part-time opposition, Ramsay made his entrance into the Aberdeen starting line-up in a high pressure environment.
There was the pressure of players having to impress newly-appointed manager Stephen Glass, who was watching the action remotely on television as he is undergoing a 10-day quarantine having flown in from the United States on the eve of the tie.
The tie also had to be finished on the day with penalties if required, and the goal-shy Dons had netted just once in 10 games.
Television chiefs were clearly sensing a potential upset with the tie selected for live broadcast by the BBC in an early kick-off.
Yet Ramsay thrived both defensively and on the attack, powering down the right flank, beating players and delivering dangerous crosses.
Sheerin said: “Calvin can be really pleased with his first full debut as he did well.
“He loves getting on the ball and getting crosses across.
“Calvin did that really well in the first half against Dumbarton especially as he had plenty of crosses into the box.
“It was a game that suited him in terms of getting on the front foot and getting forward, which he really likes to do.”
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Ramsay signed a contract extension in January tying him to Pittodrie until summer 2024.
The teen, who made his debut off the bench in injury time during the recent 1-0 loss at Dundee United, was signed by the Dons at just nine years old from the AFC pre-Academy and has risen through the youth ranks.
He was a pivotal part of the U18 squad that was level on points with Rangers at the top of the Club Academy Scotland League when Scottish football stopped in March 2020 due to Covid-19.
That Aberdeen U18 side had also secured an SFA Youth Cup final against Kilmarnock at Hampden, but that was also cancelled due to the pandemic.
Although primarily a right-back, Ramsay also played right-midfield for the U18s.
Until the age of 13, Ramsay was a highly-rated central midfielder, but was moved to right-back for one game during a youth tournament in Holland against Chelsea.
He impressed so much in that role against the Stamford Bridge youth side, he remained at right-back.
Sheerin said: ”Although Calvin loves going forward, maybe defensively at times he needs to tighten up.
“All young players do and they need to learn the game, but he is a confident lad.”
As reserve team coach, Sheerin has a keen understanding and knowledge of the emerging young talent at the club.
Teenage midfielder Ethan Ross was also given the opportunity to impress when starting against Dumbarton and, like Ramsay, he grabbed it.
It was only the 19-year-old’s second first-team start.
His only previous start was 1-1 draw with Hibs on October 5, 2019.
In Sheerin’s first match in interim charge, the recent loss to Dundee United, he handed defender Jack MacKenzie a starting debut.
Just days after that debut, the 20-year-old signed a contract extension tying him to the club until summer 2023.
MacKenzie was unavailable for selection against Dumbarton as he was cup-tied, having played in the tournament earlier this season while on loan at Forfar.
Finnish U21 international Miko Virtanen also recently signed a one-year contract extension until next summer.
Sheerin said: “Hopefully they all have bright futures.
“Jack also made his debut against Dundee United and he was excellent, other than the goal. At a young age, you need mistakes to learn from.
“Jack is a bright boy and I am sure he will learn from that.”