Aberdeen’s new breakout sensation Calvin Ramsay isn’t likely to forget the week of his 18th birthday in a hurry.
On Thursday, the youth academy graduate helped the Dons close out their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie against BK Hacken in Sweden (5-3 aggregate victory), before starring in the opening 2-0 Premiership win over Dundee United on Sunday.
This second outing in four days, the day after his landmark birthday, saw the right-back bag a superb assist and a man-of-the-match award.
Having expertly turned experienced ex-Pittodrie defender Mark Reynolds and teed up Christian Ramirez for Aberdeen’s second against the Tangerines, the emerging talent insists he can get “stronger and stronger” as he racks up first-team appearances as part of Stephen Glass’ Reds revolution.
Ramsay is now preparing to take on Iceland’s Breidablik away in the Conference League third qualifying round first leg later this week.
On the win over United and getting a run of games under Glass, he said: “It’s been tough coming back from Sweden and that. We’ve not had a lot of rest, but we just tried to recover as best as we can and go again.
“It was a good performance (against United). Obviously first game of the season, it’s always going to be tough. We knew what they were going to come here and try to do, but we had a gameplan and we executed it well.
“I just try to be as effective as I can in every game I play and obviously I got an assist on Sunday.
“Obviously I’m really young and he’s put me in. I think with every game I play I’m just going to get stronger and stronger.”
After breaking into the Aberdeen first-team picture during the Covid-19 pandemic, while under-18s football was in cold storage, Sunday’s win was Ramsay’s first chance to play in front of a Pittodrie crowd in the league.
The full-back, who also earned plaudits for his showing in the home Euro game against Hacken, added: “I’ve grown up in Aberdeen, been here since I’ve been 10 years old, so to be able to play in front of fans and play well is just amazing.
“We’re just taking it game by game, trying to play the best we can.”
Ramsay was part of – with 21-year-old left-back Jack Mackenzie and Ross McCrorie, 23 – a very youthful Aberdeen defence in the league opener.
From his performances for Glass’ team so far, it is clear Ramsay isn’t feeling overawed at becoming Aberdeen’s first-choice right-back.
He said: “He (Glass) has had faith in me and tried to show him what I can do. And I think I’ve done pretty well to be honest.
“It’s really young to play in the first team at 17, but, for me, I’ve been at Aberdeen since I was young and that’s all I’ve aimed for – to play in the first team. Now it’s come about, I want to try to grasp that, play as many games as possible and play well.
“As a player, I’m quite calm on the ball and composed. I don’t rush into things.
“Me, Jack Mackenzie and even Ross McCrorie, we’re all young and want to prove we’re good enough to play in the starting 11.
“Every game we’ll try to cement our places and keep training well. That’s it really.”
Iceland clash awaits Aberdeen
Glass’ squad are now fighting on two fronts, at home and in Europe – and it’s safe to say Ramsay’s 18th birthday celebrations have been understated as a result.
Although he said he “might” go home and celebrate after the victory over Dundee United, all focus at Aberdeen is now firmly on the midweek first leg meeting with Breidablik.
Ramsay said: “We’ll fly Wednesday, train over there on their pitch, then just be prepared for the game.
“We’ll know what they’ll be like, what they’ll try to do and we’ve just got to have our gameplan.
“We’ve not spoken about them – Dundee United was the main focus. Now we’ll go back, rest and recover, and focus on Thursday.”
Following the Europa Conference League play-off round draw yesterday, it was revealed the Dons will play either Cyprus’ AEL Limassol or Azerbaijan’s Qarabag should they get past Breidablik, with a place in the lucrative group stage up for grabs, but Ramsay thinks they can’t get ahead of themselves.
He said: “A European run is important – we want to go as far as we can in the competition, play against some of the best teams, but we need to take it game by game and can’t look too far forward. We’ll try our best to get through to the next round.”