Neil Lennon has been planning Liam Henderson’s debut for two years.
The 17-year-old midfielder made a big impact against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and followed that up with another impressive display in the 3-0 win over St Mirren.
With his range of passing and willingness to take on the ball Henderson has stepped into the first team with ease looking perfectly at home linking up with Scott Brown, Kris Commons and Stefan Johansen.
Henderson made his competitive debut as a late substitute in the 5-0 win at Motherwell in December with his path to the top carefully scheduled.
“Liam has earned his chance and the manager is delighted with the way that he is developing,” development coach Stevie Frail said. “The manager will give players a chance if they are hitting the standards needed.
“He has been stepping up in age for a long time, two seasons ago the manager wanted some bodies while we were playing in the Next Gen Series and Liam went to train with the first team at a really young age.
“They were aware of him, he felt the benefit of that and has progressed on the back of that. I went down to the game at Kilmarnock with John Kennedy and we both got a great buzz out of seeing how well Liam played.”
Frail added: “He is a good midfield player, he’s clever, has technical ability and is working hard developing the defensive side of his game.
“Playing with the first team will bring his game on further. He’s getting great guidance from his dad who knows what the game is about.
“I spoke with his dad (former Partick Thistle and Falkirk midfielder Nicky) after we had lost away to Ajax, he was very grounded about Liam.
“The players we are working with all have the opportunity to develop and Liam has taken his chance. People are now aware of him, he has made the breakthrough but the really hard work starts now because he has to maintain the development.”