THERE are few within Scottish football who know Kevin Nisbet as well as Kris Doolan. The Partick Thistle legend took the young striker under his wing when he was taking his first tentative steps in professional football at Firhill.

Unfortunately, the precocious talent took a stumble in his career when he was released by the Jags, a moment that Doolan pinpoints as the catalyst for his subsequently stratospheric rise through the divisions, all the way to the Scotland squad for the European Championships.

Just three years after being let go by Alan Archibald, the forward is now the subject of keen interest from Celtic, with current club Hibernian signalling they won’t accept less than £4million if he is to be prised from Easter Road.

Despite his rapid ascent though, Doolan says his young friend has the attributes to thrive should Ange Postecoglou succeed in bringing him to Glasgow’s East End.

“Kevin’s mentality is spot on for that kind of environment,” Doolan said.

“He takes things in his stride, he’s a confident boy in his ability, and he is obviously working really hard now too.

“I think he would excel in that type of environment. He’s got the tools to do it and he is applying himself.

“He gets people up out their seats because he only needs that one chance. If you are playing at a club like Celtic, there’s every chance you could get five, six, seven chances to score in a game. Kevin, being the type of player he is, will just continue to score goals.

“At Hibs, you get a decent amount of chances, but he has shown that he can score goals in teams that don’t create so many. At Celtic, he’ll get a barrowload of chances, and Kevin will continually put the ball in the back of the net for you.

“I definitely think he’d excel in that type of environment, he’ll rise to that challenge.”

Doolan has a wry smile when reminded of manager Archibald’s attempts to get through to a young Nisbet when he was at Firhill, and he says that he too tried to impress upon the youngster the need to show the level of professionalism which is now paying dividends for him.

“Of course I did,” he said. “That’s the way I was with Kevin and all the younger players. All I ever wanted to see was the young players doing well.

“All they need is a bit of an arm around their back, but ultimately, they have to be willing to go out and do it for themselves. Nobody can do it for them.

“Archie, the manager at the time, he was a bit like an exasperated dad! He was just desperate for him to do well, but he couldn’t find the formula to get him to do it.

“I was close with Kevin, as strikers you work closely together every day and I tried to help him as much as I could.

“But as I said, it’s all Kevin’s doing. He’s obviously picked up a lot and learned a lot as he’s grown, and now he’s putting it all together.

“That’s why he’s in the Premiership and doing so well, and that’s why he’s being linked with teams like Celtic, who could land themselves a fantastic player now.

“The thing with Kevin is that he always showed he was a natural goalscorer. That’s the one thing he’s always had.

“In the early days at Thistle with us, he was playing in the reserves at a young age and scoring 15-20 goals every season.

“He’s a great boy. He always had the tools, but he then focused and got himself to where he is. It’s great to see him fulfilling the potential that we all seen in him so long ago.”

The majority of Celtic supporters may be pleased to see their club looking at such a prolific young Scottish player, but those same fans would likely not look upon Nisbet as a replacement for Odsonne Edouard, should the French star leave the club as is expected.

But Doolan has no doubt that should Nisbet make the move to Celtic, he will be going in believing that he should be Postecoglou’s first-choice striker.

“He would be right to have that type of thought process,” he said. “Everybody wants to play, no footballer signs somewhere to sit and watch.

“I think he’ll go in there thinking he has to work hard to make sure he gets in the team. He’ll want to be in the starting XI.

“He’s shown over the years he can score loads of different types of goals. He has power, pace and strength, but he also has finesse in and around the box.

“A guy like that going to a team like Celtic, who will create all different types of chances for you, I definitely think he will turn out to be a brilliant signing.

“He will have better players around him at Celtic, and that will make him a better player too. He is going to continue to improve.”

As for Doolan, the 34-year-old is concentrating on his football academy at present as he assesses his options after leaving Arbroath at the end of last season.

"If something came up working with a professional club with a wee step into coaching, I would definitely consider that now," he said.

"I have got options to continue playing, and some teams have offered me player/coach roles too, so I'm not in a mad rush just now."