Glasgow born and bred and a Celtic fan to boot, young goalkeeper Aidan McAdams is living the dream at Parkhead.
At the age of just 16, he has already trained with the first-team and has represented Scotland at Under-17 level.
We caught up with the talented stopper, who is being guided by highly respected Viola FC, to talk about life in the Celtic academy, his exploits with his country in the Victory Shield and his goalkeeping hero.
You recently signed your third contract with Celtic – what’s it like to be part of such a big club?
“It’s great! I’m a Celtic fan as well which just makes it better. There are obviously high expectations being at such a big club but that’s good, they keep pushing you to improve which can only be beneficial in the long run.”
What is your best memory of watching Celtic?
“I don’t have an earliest memory in particular, but my favourite one without a doubt would be beating Barcelona 2-1 in the Champions League back in 2012.”
Who were your heroes growing up?
“As an aspiring goalkeeper, I always looked up to Edwin van der Sar – he was playing for Manchester United as I was growing up watching football and I’ve always looked up to him. From a Celtic point of view, Artur Boruc was my favourite player as a kid. I’ve always played in goal, never outfield, so it is those players who I look up to.”
How often do you mix with the first team in training, and who are the toughest opponents within the Celtic squad?
“Not too often at the moment, but I have done so on a few occasions which has been great. There is no ‘toughest opponent’ in particular, and in fact I get the toughest treatment from the coaches, who can be pretty hard but they’re doing it to help be develop so I can be the best I can possibly be.”
What’s it like looking at someone like Craig Gordon in the senior squad. He must be an inspiration?
“It’s great being able to look up to and learn from Craig, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper who has played at the highest level. It’s good to be able pick things up from him, as well as the other first-team goalkeepers at the club.”
You’ve been involved with the Scotland youth set-up and played in the Victory Shield – how much of an honour is it to represent your country?
“It’s an unbelievable feeling representing your country. Just lining up and knowing you are doing yourself and your family proud is excellent.”
What would you say are your best attributes as a goalkeeper?
“I would say claiming crosses and my communication skills.”
Do you set yourself long-term targets?
“I don’t really set myself long-term goals, to be honest. Short-term I am always looking to improve on particular parts of my game, setting goals such as seeing a marked improvement on those areas within a few weeks of working on it in training. For example, at the moment I’m working on my footwork, so hopefully before too long I’ll see an improvement there.”
Do you have any specific goals this season?
“I’m thinking more about team targets this season. At under-17 level, I want us to win the league and reach the Glasgow Cup Final.”
Favourite food – Salmon
Favourite band or musician – Chris Brown
Biggest joker in the Celtic squad – At under-17 level, I’d have to say my mate Ross McLaughlin
Dream 5-a-side team – I’d have to pick Edwin van der Sar in goal! In front of him, you can’t leave out Nemanja Vidic in his prime, so he can play along with Paolo Maldini, Lionel Messi and Andrea Pirlo.