Aaron Hickey took to life in Serie A like a fish to water, excelling in 80 minutes of action in his full debut for Bologna as they ran out 4-1 winners over Parma.
As with every challenge presented to him in Scotland, the 18-year-old didn’t shy away. Taking the bull by the horns, Hickey was an attacking presence throughout his time on the park, linking well with team-mates and always making himself available.
Gazzetta Dello Sport commented on this when Bologna were slow getting out of the games, writing: “Bologna seems to be suffering but in the meantime Hickey begins to grow and takes on many initiatives with great personality.”
They later added: “Hickey gains the trust of his teammates who are constantly looking for him in passing exchanges for in both depth and support.”
The paper would give the ex-Hearts youngster a 7/10 in their report cards, saying: “He made his debut at the age of 18 as if he had always played here. In the first half he showed personality and quality. A player acquired almost out of nowhere.”
They also gave his boss Sinisa Mihajlovic a 7/10 for trusting him so soon, saying he was “rewarded” for making the ‘right call’.
Mijajlovic himself would briefly comment on the performance of his new signing after the match. “Hickey has both personality and quality, he has a great future ahead of him. He’s lively and is learning already.”
Repubblica were another publication to comment on the player’s “great personality”. They continued: “The Scotsman often invites his team-mates into dialogue, including the veterans like [Rodrigo] Palacio, their exchange in the Parma area gave [Hickey] the chance to cross from which Barrow didn’t reach by a whisker.”
Il Messaggero made time to note the cheer Hickey received when he left the park with ten minutes remaining: “The applause in particular is for Hickey, Scottish full-back born in 2002, author of an excellent test.”
All in all, it could scarcely have been any more positive for the full-back on his Italian football bow.