Top 5 Teenage Talents in the Scottish Premier League
Despite one notable absentee, the Scottish Premier League has already thrown up plenty of excitement and a number of surprises this season.
With Celtic dropping points left, right and centre and only five points separating the top seven teams, there's reason to believe that this could be the most exciting the league has been for years—and the fact that there is so much young talent on offer is further grounds for cautious optimism.
Here we take a look at the top five teenage players currently plying their trade in the SPL.
5. Philip Roberts: Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Roberts scores for ICT against Dundee United
Originally with Norwich City as a youngster, Roberts signed for Arsenal where he was the top scorer for the Under 18s side in 2011-12.
Since joining Inverness Caledonian Thistle on loan at the start of this season, Roberts has impressed in a side that Terry Butcher has built largely out of other young players. He scored with this emphatic finish in their 4-0 home win against Dundee United at the end of September.
4. Filip Twardzik: Celtic
Coming through the youth set up at Celtic and making the first team is not an easy task.
The pressure of expectations on Parkhead managers throughout the years has meant that the quick fix option of bringing in a seasoned professional is always preferable to the more patient approach of giving young players their chance and allowing them to develop.
Twardzik is a talented footballer—his outings, though few in the first team have indicated this—but he'll need to be given time in order to properly progress as a player.
3. Callum Paterson: Hearts
A product of the Hearts youth system, Paterson, like many young players in the SPL in recent years, has benefited from the financial situation which has denied clubs (with the exception of Celtic) the opportunity to go out and look for more experienced players.
With two goals in 12 first team appearances this season, the young striker looks set for a bright future at Tynecastle, although like the rest of the playing staff, Paterson must be worried about the increasingly perilous nature of the club's finances.
2. Ryan Fraser: Aberdeen
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Wingers have seen something of a resurgence in the Scottish Premier League in recent years and Ryan Fraser could be the most exciting yet.
With the ability to take on and regularly beat fullbacks, but also the willingness and the bravery to do so again and again, his form has been impressive since breaking into an improved Aberdeen side this season and he's won many admirers for his attitude: Fraser is the kind of winger who'll get up and play on even after a particularly hard tackle rather than complain or look to the referee for protection.
1. Tony Watt: Celtic
Already a name creating quite a buzz throughout Europe after his goal in Celtic's historic 2-1 Champions League win over Barcelona, Watt has all of the requisite talents to make it in the game for years to come.
A remarkably composed finisher with excellent spatial awareness and an all round approach to the game that belies his years, if Watt is to maintain his current level of progression, a regular first team place with Celtic is a formality—what he can achieve on top of that is the real question.