Gaz: Buddies kid Kenny reminds me of young Baz

Gary Teale today compared St Mirren team-mate Kenny McLean to former Rangers and Scotland skipper Barry Ferguson.

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The 19-year-old was unveiled as SPL Young Player of the Month for October on Tuesday, and Teale reckons it will be the first of many gongs to come the way of the midfielder.

He has watched in admiration as McLean has forced his way into Buddies' boss Danny Lennon's team to start the last five games.

But it was McLean's match-winning performance at St Johnstone a fortnight back that brought home to Teale just what a talent the teenager is – and rekindled memories of a young Ferguson.

He said: "From the first time I came across Kenny on the training pitch I knew he had real talent. Immediately I thought the way he carried himself, quite upright and with his chest out, reminded me of Barry Ferguson.

"Obviously Kenny is just starting out and this is only his second season in the SPL, but he is very assured and composed and again that maturity on the park at an early age was a hallmark of Barry's.

"But what Kenny also has, which is very rare for a teenager, is a first touch that can take him forward rather than one that just takes him sideways. That can give you an extra yard on an opponent and Kenny does have a great first touch."

Teale added: "Now that he has broken into the starting side and had a run of starts, we are really starting to see Kenny blossom. At St Johnstone a fortnight back he was outstanding and scored a great goal.

"But he also made another couple of runs that could have had him rewarded with another goal or two, and his energy getting forward was outstanding."

When it comes to how far McLean can go, Teale has no doubt the sky is the limit.

The 33-year-old said: "The club has done a great piece of business in nailing down Kenny on a three-year deal. If he continues to show the same dedication and hunger to learn, then he can go as far as he wants in this game.

"The way he moves is almost effortless and he seems to glide across the ground and, in the modern game, athleticism like that is a must. In terms of playing down south, that can get you a long way."

For his part, Teale is completing his 'B' coaching licence at Stirling University this week and says the process has given him a whole new perspective on the game.

The Saints star said: "I am thoroughly enjoying doing my badges and feel it is opening my eyes to a lot of things I was not maybe aware of from a playing perspective."

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