The life of a footballer is both short and unforgiving. In most situations, if you haven’t made the step up to the first team by the age of 21, there’s a very real chance that the boat may have already sailed.
For goalkeepers, however, they at least have the benefit of a little more time to make the progression. For those between the sticks, it’s usually a much longer, more patient career.
Therefore, perhaps Rangers youngster Liam Kelly shouldn’t be too concerned about the fact he is spending the current campaign out on loan at League One side Livingston rather than around the first-team camp at Ibrox.
Joining the club at the age of 10, Kelly has risen through each available rank to reach the verge of the senior squad last season, acting as an understudy for Wes Foderingham with Cammy Bell unavailable through injury.
And although the shot-stopper, who has represented Scotland from Under-16 to Under-21 level, is yet to make his senior Rangers bow, a sequence of impressive performances in the lower leagues will not have done his chances any harm.
In Livingston’s 4-0 thrashing of Airdrie at the weekend, Kelly picked up his eighth clean sheet in 30 games this season.
The 21-year-old has surely increased the prospects of a long-awaited first-team debut in 2017/18, although he faces a difficult task finding a way past Wes Foderingham and January signing Jak Alnwick.