Chris Antoniazzi is coaching the Aberdeen stars of tomorrow while he carves out his own future at Montrose.
The 21-year-old midfielder works in Aberdeen’s academy by day, honing the talents of the youngsters who dream of one day starring for Dons.
It’s a dream Antoniazzi once held himself as he worked his way through the ranks at Pittodrie but one he stepped away from last summer when he quit Dons.
Stars of tomorrow
Antoniazzi initially left for Forfar but quit Station Park in January to pen an 18-month deal at Montrose.
And he believes he can get his career on track whilst helping the stars of tomorrow to take their first steps in the game.
“I’m at Montrose now and I’m proud to be here,” said Antoniazzi. “It’s a great club and I would recommend it to anyone who, like me, is taking a step away from full-time football.
“There is always someone willing to help you here and no-one is above you. We are all in it together at Montrose.
“I’m away from Aberdeen as a player but I still work as a youth coach with them.
“It doesn’t feel strange. I’m not there full-time or involved with the first-team.
“I love coaching and it’s something I want to step into. The kids I teach are still really young but they see me as someone they can relate to.”
“I’m not in a full-time bubble and do my job there before coming down the road to play for Montrose.
“I coach the under-10s in the pre-academy four or five times a week.
“I love coaching and it’s something I want to step into. The kids I teach are still really young but they see me as someone they can relate to.
“They can speak to me about different situations with me at football and hopefully I can help them get on in the game.
“Stephen Glass has come in and made his mark at Aberdeen.
“He’s new and just in the door but you can already see the difference he is trying to make on the club which is brilliant.”
Antoniazzi is in his second spell at Montrose having previously played for manager Stewart Petrie on loan as a teenager.
He was just 15 when Montrose came within 43 minutes of falling into the Highland League in 2015 as they trailed Brora Rangers in the first-ever pyramid play-off.
Montrose now stand on the cusp of Championship football and Antoniazzi believes the transformation in the club’s fortunes has been incredible since Petrie arrived in December 2016.
The midfielder will travel to Greenock on Tuesday determined to protect Montrose’s 2-1 Championship play-off first leg lead.
“The manager has done a brilliant job since he came in,” added Antoniazzi. “You only need to look at where the club was and where it is now to see that.
“I’ve got no idea what the club was like before. I was only 15 back then but it’s definitely a very happy place right now.
“We’ve got a massive game against Morton on Tuesday.
“We’ve got a slight advantage but it’s only half-time and anyone can win it.
“It’s another game and we’d love two more. We’ve played so many games over the last few months that we’ve got used to the schedule.
“Now it’s just game after game and we love it. No-one is complaining, especially when we are winning.”