Every time Gavin Rae sees Craig Wighton play, he’s reminded of someone else.
That player is Arsenal’s star man Aaron Ramsey.
Dundee midfielder Rae was Ramsey’s team-mate at Cardiff for two seasons from 2006-08. Their time together came to an end when Arsene Wenger splashed out 5m on the then 17-year-old Welsh maestro in 2008.
And, having seen both at a similar age, Rae believes 16-year-old Wighton is the equal of the teenage Ramsey.
“I was lucky enough to play alongside Aaron Ramsay at a similar age when he was at Cardiff,” said the 35-year-old. “They’re both very special talents.
“Aaron’s obviously moved on and this season has been outstanding.
“But Craig definitely has all that ability. He’s got such a really good chance of making it.”
Before making his first-team debut last month, Wighton was already a standout in the reserves.
And, as his boss at that level, Rae isn’t surprised to see the kid impress and make the step-up look so effortless.
“He could have an unbelievable career in football.
“I look after the reserves so I know his qualities and now I’m seeing him bringing them to the first team.
“He’s such a talent and a hard worker as well. He just needs to keep progressing and keep his feet on the ground.”
Wighton became Dundee’s youngest-ever goalscorer when he headed home in the 2-0 win over Raith at the weekend.
And Rae revealed how Wighton’s reaction in the dressing-room was different to his when he opened his Dark Blues account.
Rae bagged the first of his 31 Dundee goals in December 1996 in a 2-0 win over Falkirk when he was 19.
“That was a huge moment for Craig but he takes things in his stride. He’s a laid- back character, a young lad who just chills out. That’s just his way.
“My first goal was at the TC Keay end against Falkirk in the First Division. I was buzzing after it.”
Dundee climbed to second in the Championship after their win over Raith.
Grant Murray’s side visited Dens on the back of a 10-match unbeaten run but the Dark Blues have now taken 16 points out of a possible 18 at Dens this season.
And Rae believes their home form will prove vital in the promotion race.
“It’s very important to win your home games. We’ve done very well at Dens and we need to keep that going. If we can keep doing that and picking up the odd away win then we won’t be very far away.
“We got the goals at the right time against Raith and it was great to see the boys play well. We knew it was going to be hard because they were on a great run of form.
“But getting the goals when we did helped us and we were delighted to get the three points.
“It was also good to bounce back from the loss at Livi. We didn’t play as well as we can down there. However, we had been on a good run of form before that so it was good to get another win under our belts.”
Ryan Conroy opened the scoring against Raith from a free-kick in the 28th minute.
And that came as no surprise to Rae. “Ryan scored a brilliant free-kick. He has so much technique and a wand of a left foot. And while it was great to see Craig get his goal, don’t forget Ryan set that up.”