The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Former Rangers hitman tells Hickey to ignore any overtures from Celtic
Aaron Hickey could join Celtic in the future. But for now, he is in the best possible place to continue his development, according to former Rangers striker, Marco Negri.
The possibility was alluded to by the 18-year-old himself last week, when he confirmed the interest shown in him by the Hoops prior to his switch from Hearts to Bologna last September.
Negri now works as an Italian football pundit, a role which has allowed him to closely follow the Scot’s progress in Serie A.
The youngster was a regular in the Bologna side, until he suffered a straight red card via VAR playing against Sassuolo in February.
But Negri said: “I actually live in Bologna, so I can tell you for certain that Hickey is greatly appreciated here. “Their supporters can be demanding on players, but they can also forgive some mistakes. “Hickey is a great prospect. Although only 18 years old, he is already emotionally mature. “I watch him, and he reminds me a little of Andy Robertson. He plays with his head up and is so positive, as you might expect from someone who used to be a midfielder. “However, he needs to improve the defensive side of his game, and Serie A is the perfect place for him to do this. “Defence is an area of the game we Italians have always taken a great pride in.
“Hickey is also finding himself having to defend against some top, top, attackers week in, week out. “The likes of Federico Chiesa and Juan Cuadrado of Juventus are just two who spring to mind. Playing against such talents, you can only learn.
“And then there is his coach. You do not mess about with Sinisa Mihajlovic.
“But Sinisa loves Hickey. He brought him to the club and he has praised him often. “The Bologna coach is also someone who is very attentive to both phases of the game – attack and defence.
“You add these things together, and I believe Hickey is in the perfect place to develop his career.
“I appreciate he left Scotland when he was very young, and he has come to another country.
“In these circumstances, simply playing in a winning team alone is not always enough to make you happy. There can be other factors involved, too. “I played abroad myself, so I know that to be a fact. “But Hickey has the support of his family, and Bologna have invested in developing him to the point where he can be a big player in Serie A. “They have bet a lot on him, so they very much want him to succeed.”
That, Negri reckons, would be good news for Scotland manager, Steve Clarke, as well as the teenager.
“Hickey’s future lies in his own hands,” he said. “With the power and vision he possesses, I could easily see him featuring for the national team. As I said, he reminds me a little of Andy Robertson. “One day he may go back to Scotland to play his club football, possibly for Celtic. “Right now, though, he is in the right place to get where he wants to go in the game.”