Former Celtic Academy youngster, Aaron Hickey, considered turning down a contract at this ‘boyhood club’ before returning to Hearts.
The 20-year-old has achieved an impressive height since making his Edinburgh debut at just 16 years old in 2018.
After leaving Hearts, Hickey spent two years in Italy with Italian club Bologna before making a big-money move to Brentford in the Premier League this summer.
If we go back a few years back to Hickey’s days as a young player, the full-back spent time at Celtic’s academy between his two stints at Tynecastle.Read:16-year-old Ben Duke scored 7 minutes on his Scotland Under-21 debut – Liverpool FC
As an acknowledged Celtic supporter, you can imagine it would be any youngster’s dream to continue playing for their childhood champions.
However, after being offered a contract at Parkhead after four years at the academy, Hickey made the brave decision to return to the Hearts, where he thought playtime would be more achievable. The rest is history.
Speaking in a recent interview, the Scottish international opened up about that period of his career, noting that the opportunity to play football was what drew him to Edinburgh, which in the end turned out to be the right decision.
He said [Brentford FC]“I started at Hearts when I was really young — I would have been 10 when I joined, and stayed until I was 12,” Aaron recalls.
“Then I went to Celtic because it was my childhood club. I went there for a good four years. Celtic offered me a contract, but I didn’t play much. I thought there would be a better chance of playing at Hearts.Read:Graham Potter ‘holds one-on-one talks with Chelsea stars and tells dressing-room to unite’ after Thomas Tuchel sacking
“Being young, you have to play football. You have to make the right decisions.”
After making his debut the previous week, he made his debut for Gambus at Celtic Park, where he faced the 2018/19 Scottish Premier League winners.
Hickey thought what that opportunity would have been for him at such a young age, revealing that his father was actually at the end of a Celtic home that afternoon.
He said: The manager [Craig Levein] I thought I was fine against Aberdeen, so he put me in the Celtic game at Parkhead in front of 60K.
“That was great – I loved every minute of it. It was a sale on their court. I remember having a cramp for the last half hour! [Laughs]
“I had a few friends at the Hearts end, and I think my dad was at the Celtic end!”
It’s been a fantastic journey for Aaron Hickey as a young player, going from Hearts/Celtic academies to regular performances in the Premier League. Oh, and who could forget his Serie A stop?Read:NFL season is here but I won’t be following anymore. I can’t un-see the harm it causes | NFL
While it may be frustrating to some that the Hoops weren’t able to convince a talented player like Hickey to stay, it was the best move of his career.
Now, the linebacker is a regular international and faces some world class players south of the border. There is no guarantee that this would happen without his playing time as a young man.
Ultimately, both Hickey and Celtic are clubs in good standing. So, all we can do is look at this and think about what Hickey would have had the opportunity to remain as part of the club’s academy.
In other news, a former key team member of Celtic’s Premier League side has been named.