A few weeks ago, we at Brig Sport analysed who we believe the best players in Scottish football are. Rangers’ James Tavernier came out on top in our poll (voted for by you, our readers), seemingly proving Dylan Inglis right.
This time around, we’re choosing who we believe to be the best young player in Scotland – and once again, you can have your say by following the link at the bottom of this article. Make sure to vote and get your opinion across.
Dylan Inglis says: David Turnbull
David Turnbull has been one of very few positives at Celtic Park this season.
WhoScored’s data tells us the 21-year-old has completed, on average, 2.6 key passes every 90 minutes, the highest of any Premiership player. However, it’s the midfielder’s all-round play which really catches the eye.
When you watch Celtic this season, it’s clear to see everything goes through his position. If Neil Lennon’s side are looking to construct an attack, it’s highly likely Turnbull will either be playing the final ball or finishing off the move himself. Even at his young age he’s integral to this Celtic team.
As far as number tens go it’d be hard to rank any player above David Turnbull right now, never mind young ones! His expected assists per 90 of 0.4 is the highest of any player in the league; even when comparing him to other high-earning Celtic team mates, it’s clear to see he’s no fish out of water.
Ryan Christie is a name often linked with big money moves away from Parkhead, but if we’re judging by stats there really isn’t all that much between the two players.
The former Inverness player takes 3.1 shots per game compared to Turnbull’s 2.84, but when we look at shot accuracy there’s an eight percent difference between the two – and that’s in the youngster’s favour!
Of course, stats aren’t everything. Ryan Christie brings much more big-game experience which is an aspect David Turnbull has still to develop, but the point is that when comparing Turnbull to the highest earning players in the league, he can more than hold his own.
The 21-year-old midfielder is one of, if not the brightest talents in Scottish football right now. Don’t be surprised if he gets a big move sooner than you think…
Kris Johnston says: Lewis Ferguson
Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to bag David Turnbull as my option. That takes nothing away from Lewis Ferguson, however, who certainly runs the Celtic man close. The 21-year-old came through the ranks at Hamilton Accies and quickly made the move north to Aberdeen, where he has since established himself as one of the brightest sparks in Scottish football’s future.
Ferguson plays primarily as part of a double pivot for Aberdeen, but is often utilised in a joint number ten role when Derek McInnes sets up with a 3-4-2-1 formation. Possessing excellent stamina, he has started every Premiership game for his side this season and has completed ninety minutes in all but one – when he was shown a red card against St Mirren in December.
The youngster’s overall ability is boosted by the impact he has at both ends of the pitch. He has scored eight league goals in the 2020/21 campaign (six from the penalty spot) and has assisted his teammates twice; on top of that, he has created 24 chances and made 22 key passes.
Back in his own half, Ferguson has blocked 13 shots, made 34 interceptions and cleared the ball 32 times. He has a 60% tackle success rate, and seven Premiership yellow cards hint at his tenacity in the middle of the park.
Having made 110 appearances for the Dons since June 2018, the Scotland Under-21 international has been linked with moves to Rangers and clubs in England. McInnes admitted in December he is resigned to losing Ferguson at one point, and it’s not hard to see why; he is up there with the best young players in Scotland.
Charlie Harris says: Ali McCann
St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann has been one of the breakout stars in the Scottish Premiership over the last couple of years, and this season he has continued to grow in stature, becoming an important part of the Perth side’s midfield.
The 21-year-old is already one of St Johnstone’s most creative players, creating 0.7 chances per game for the Saints – the fourth highest in the side. He has also directly set up two goals for his teammates this season, equalling his total for last season already. The youngster is also comfortable in possession, and rarely wasteful, resulting in him having the highest pass completion rate at the club, for players who have played more than 20 games this season.
One criticism of McCann could be that he doesn’t score enough compared to similar players, like Lewis Ferguson – with just 2 goals this season. However, the goals he does score tend to be important ones, like the winner against Kilmarnock in a 3-2 victory this month. It is also perhaps unfair to criticise McCann for not scoring enough, when he is playing for St Johnstone, a team who average only one goal per game.
If Ali McCann continues at this rate of progression, it won’t be long before a move to a bigger Premiership club, or a move down south is on the cards. And given that the young midfielder is already a full international for Northern Ireland, it doesn’t seem like he will have long to wait for that move to come.
Craig Mahood says: Odsonne Edouard
“He doesn’t want to be at Celtic anymore.”
“His attitude is so poor.”
“He’s thrown the toys out the pram.”
And yet, Odsonne Edouard has started to streak away in the goalscoring charts.
It’s easy to forget that Edouard still qualifies as a young player, being aged just 23.
The Frenchman has had injuries and COVID-19 to deal with this term, and that’s on top of playing in a side that has been branded Celtic’s worst in recent memory.
The 23-year-old has been in irresistible form since Christmas and could be a big reason behind a strong finish to the season for the Hoops.
Edouard has eight goals in his last eight Celtic appearances, only failing to net at Ibrox in that run.
Following in the footsteps of Moussa Dembele was always going to be tough, especially when £10million is forked out for you as a young player.
So there would always come a time when the challenge in Scotland wouldn’t be an exciting one any longer.
Even when he missed the game at Livingston last month, rumours swirled that he had slapped down a transfer request and played his last game for the club, he was branded “a charlatan”, “a bottlejob” and “a selfish p****” on social media by the Hoops fans.
However, he was actually struggling with a knee injury and was not risked on the artificial surface.
He remains head and shoulders above any striker in the division and has proven it in recent weeks, carrying a troubled Neil Lennon’s side.
Now he’s stuck in Glasgow for another six months at least, he’ll finish way ahead in the scoring standings.
So, who do you think the best young player in Scotland is? Have your say by following the link below and voting in our poll.