Jackson, or “Bo,” Nesbitt was a stand-out performer in Glenavon’s morale-boosting 1-0 victory against Ballymena United. Afterwards Gary Hamilton praised the centre forward for his mature display.
“Considering that he is just up out of Mid-Ulster football, I thought that he was outstanding,” said the manager. “He was up against some experienced defenders but didn’t look at all out of place.”
When the team was announced, Bo was surprised that he was in the starting eleven. “I wasn’t expecting to play,” he said modestly. “But I am glad that I did and that we got the win. It has given everybody a lift.”
Although Bo was pleased with his contribution, the battle with Ballymena veterans Steven McCullough and Colin Coates highlighted areas in which he must improve.
“I need to get stronger physically,” he revealed. “Irish League defenders are a different breed to what I have faced up to now. They are tougher, more powerful and harder to knock off the ball. It is going to take me a while, but I am determined to get myself into better shape.”
The 23-year-old joined Glenavon in June 2023 from Bourneview Mill. Last season he scored 35 goals in Mid-Ulster, Intermediate A. His prolific finishing earned him his former club’s “Player of the Season,” “Players’ Player of the Season” and “Leading Goalscorer” awards.
“Bourneview had a great team,” he continued. “We won the Marshall Cup in June, defeating Oxford Sunnyside in the final, and were in the running for the league title right up until the closing fixtures.”
Bourneview Mill’s success attracted a posse of scouts to Peppercorn Park. The entire first team subsequently joined other clubs. Jack Evans and Chris Calvert moved to Annagh United and Harry Evans put pen to paper for Rathriland Rangers. But Nesbitt’s move to Mourneview Park was the headline-grabbing switch.
“I had options but was attracted by Glenavon because Gary Hamilton was such a good striker himself and he has always been prepared to give young players a chance,” he added.
Leaving the Portadown club was a big wrench for Bo. Its manager, Mark Jackson, is also his boss. “I am a joiner and work for Mark,” he explained. “In fact, that was the connection which led me to sign for Bourneview Mill in the first place. Previously, I had been with Loughgall.”
Jackson has thoroughly enjoyed his first couple of months with Glenavon. “The training has been very intense but also very good; Gary has been excellent with me; and the rest of the players have made me very welcome,” he added.
The Richhill man – Peter Campbell and Isaac Baird are neighbours – was born in Melbourne, Australia. It was there that he got the nickname “Bo.”
“When Bo was very small, I bought him his first football jersey,” his father, also Jackson Nesbitt, explained. “I wanted to put his name onto the back, but ‘Jackson’ had too many letters, so I put ‘Bo’ instead. It is, I think, an aboriginal word meaning child or young boy. Since then, everyone has called him ‘Bo.’”
Although Bo scored twice for Glenavon in pre-season friendlies and has found the net once for Glenavon Reserves, he is still waiting to score his first senior goal. When that happens, it will be a significant moment.
“Obviously, I want to score goals,” he added. “That’s how I feel that I can best help the team. But, if t takes a while, I won’t become anxious. I am very aware of the size of the step up from Mid-Ulster to Irish League football. I will need time to adjust. Already I think I have come further, faster than I expected to. So, things are moving in the right direction.”