As Martin Boyle grabbed a brace and Hibs secured an opening day victory over Kilmarnock, there’s been plenty of positives for Jack Ross to take from the opening weekend of the 2020/21 campaign.
Youngsters may be given more senior opportunities at clubs this season as the five-sub rule is introduced and the financial implications of the pandemic set in. One player clearly taking advantage of that is Josh Doig.
An impressive performer in pre-season, some outside Leith might say it was a shock to see the teenage left-back handed his first-team opportunity at the weekend. But it shouldn’t come as one.
Doig is a future Hibs regular
For all that Boyle grabbed the headlines, and rightly so, the performance of Doig shouldn’t go unnoticed. It would appear as if long-serving left-back Lewis Stevenson has a proper fight on his hands to maintain a regular starting XI spot.
At Hibs, the likes of Jamie Gullan, Fraser Mackie and Sean Mackie have all been spoken about as potentially the next to go from Hibs academy talent to first-team regular, just like Ryan Porteous. Doig showed on Saturday that the pathway is there if they are able to step up.
Facing the experienced Chris Burke, he was tested and given lessons at times by the Killie winger. But Burke was one of the best widemen in Scottish football last season, plus over the piece Doig didn’t do himself a disservice up against him.
Last season he opted for Queen’s Park on loan to gain senior experience. It was a clearly beneficial period as Doig has been able to cope fairly well with the physical demands playing men’s football brings.
Having Paul Hanlon alongside him helped and you can almost guarantee that Stevenson is helping him along his path of progression. Doig seems to be on the right track to at least gaining many first-team chances at Easter Road this term.
It’s only one game, but the early signs are positive for the teenager Hibs fans will now be excited to see again. It’s also a boost for fellow youngsters at the club as Ross shows he’s not afraid to throw his younger players in at the deep end.