Dons Academy On The Right Track

ABERDEEN'S scouting boss believes that the Dons are on the right track with the new Youth Academy - with evidence of this only last Sunday.

Colin Grant, Aberdeen's Youth Academy Head of Scouting, was delighted when Callum McRobbie, Ryan Jack and Fraser Fyvie all started for the Scotland U17 side in their 3-1 victory over Slovakia last weekend.

And the former Hibs star and Peterhead chairman thinks this is only the beginning for the Dons youth system following its shake-up in recent years.

Grant said: "I think it is a great boost for the Youth Academy that these guys are involved with Scotland.

"All three have a big chance as long as they progress as they have progressed in the last couple of years. They have the desire to do well."

Scouting guru Grant works with Taylor and Neil Simpson in Aberdeen and Peter Weir in Glasgow, and was instrumental in setting up the link with the Faroe Islands which has seen Gilli Sorensen, Hallur Hansson and 'Big Doug' Rogvie Holm joining the U19 squad.

His role entails co-ordinating the 12 scouts the Dons have in Scotland, organising what games they go to in Aberdeen, and organising the scouts in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Elgin.

The scouts in Aberdeen take in school games on a Saturday morning, take in juvenile games on a Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning and afternoon.

Grant said: "The scouts will go to a game and if they see a player they will put in a report and feed it back to myself, and also keep monthly reports on the games they have been to.

"Someone's name will maybe pop up again. If one of the scouts sees a player they will go and have a second look, then I will go and have a look myself just to confirm we think he is good enough to come into the system. We then invite them in for a six week period working with the coaches."

Grant believes that the decisions made by the Aberdeen board and Dons legend and Director of Football Willie Miller over recent years were the right ones, although they still require patience from the club and supporters.

But he hopes that the first team and ultimately the fans will soon reap the rewards of the long term planning and stability behind the new youth set-up.

He said: "I think now we have a good structure in place with Lenny Taylor in charge. We have seen a few changes in the set-up which I believe are for the good for the club."