George Robesten is eager to make the most of the opportunity Ross County handed him after seeing the teenager in action in Shetland.
Robesten was born in Eastbourne in East Sussex, where he played rugby until moving to Shetland at the age of 13.
It was during his teenage years on the isles that he kicked on as a footballer for TSB – who represent the communities of Trondra, Scalloway and Burra.
After catching the attention of County’s scouting team he became involved in the Dingwall club’s youth setup, before being handed a full-time deal in 2022.
Robesten, who along with fellow Staggies youngster Andrew Macleod is currently on loan with Highland League side Nairn County, is determined to embrace the unconventional pathway he has taken to the fringes of the Staggies’ first team squad.
He said: “It’s quite different to what other people have done. I was quite a late starter in football, but I think I’ve caught up.
“I didn’t come up through an academy or anything – they were just up doing a camp, and they liked what they saw.
“They came and watched one of my games for TSB in Shetland, which is nowhere near the level of here.
“It’s completely different, but Ross County liked what they saw and asked me to come down, which I did every few weeks for the under-18s.
“Then through that I got offered a first team contract, and I moved down here.
“They have all been really good with me, helping me settle in and I think it’s going well right now.”
Senior football at Nairn while learning trade with Staggies
Robesten has been exposed to senior football for the first time during his spell at Nairn, and netted his first goal in a 2-0 victory over Wick Academy last month.
The 17-year-old still trains full-time with the Staggies, where he feels he is benefiting greatly from the tutelage of first team manager Malky Mackay.
Robesten added: “The manager is really good with all of us young boys.
“He watches clips of what we do and gets feedback from our club of how we’re doing, and in training he might pull us aside to have a chat and give us a few pointers.
“He always asks us how we think we’re doing. He’s probably one of the best managers you can have as your first manager.
“The way he deals with boys around the squad is amazing, so I’m very happy to be working with him.
“At Nairn, playing with and against adults has really helped me develop physically and tactically.
“Being around players like Ross Tokely – who has been at Caley Thistle and had a really good career – and learning off of them has really helped.”
Inspiration for Shetland-based youngsters
Robesten hopes his own journey can be inspirational for young players in Shetland who have dreams of making the grade in full-time football.
He added: “A lot of the time I think to myself that I want to set a good example.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories of people in Shetland looking out for what I’m doing. I’m still young, I’m only 17, but they can see there’s a pathway down south and you’re not stuck in Shetland.
“It’s good that I’ve been able to move down here and create a pathway for other kids to make their way.”