Celtic manager Ronny Deila has told the Evening Times that he wants teenager Aiden Nesbitt to 'be ready' for first team action if Stefan Johansen is sold.
The Bhoys manager was busy in the transfer market over the summer, and whilst he snapped up Tyler Blackett on a season-long loan deal from Manchester United, many expected left back to the primary position of concern for the Norwegian.
Experienced defender Emilio Izaguirre has needed competition at left back, but no permanent signing was made despite a number of players being linked over the course of the summer.
Fortunately for Deila, he has managed to find a left back who can compete with Izaguirre - Kieran Tierney. The 18-year-old has come up through the ranks at Celtic, and has impressed in a number of appearances for the Bhoys first team so far this season.
Deila now wants Celtic to be able to produce their own young players on a consistent basis, with only Tierney, James Forrest and Callum McGregor playing first-team football having come up through the ranks with Celtic.
Speaking to the Evening Times, Deila says that 18-year-old forward Aiden Nesbitt, who has been scoring goals for fun in Celtic's development side, must be ready in case the Bhoys sell Norway international Stefan Johansen.
"When you lose experienced players you lose knowledge and skills so then you have to rebuild and the next player has to be ready," said Deila. "What if Stefan Johansen gets sold? Is Nesbitt ready to come in? He has to be ready."
"Stefan didn’t play in his first two years at Stromsgodset because he was behind Mohammed Abu who was the Player of the Year in Norway. But he just kept working hard and when Abu went to play in Germany Stefan was ready to take over and the next year he was even better than Abu."
"So it’s not about ‘I need to play’, you have to make yourself deserve it. And if you can’t handle competition then you are nothing at Celtic," he added.
Johansen has had a slow start to this season, but showed his class last term, and Premier League teams will no doubt be keeping a close eye on him ahead of a possible bid to take him to England.
Meanwhile, Nesbitt is Celtic's next great hope from the youth team - and it may take the sale of Johansen to give him a real chance in the Bhoys first team.