Hibs striker Jamie Insall feels he’s taken massive strides as a footballer over the last six months after he made it three goals in four starts on loan at East Fife.
The 23-year-old Englishman was operating in the West Midlands Regional League last year and couldn’t believe it when Easter Road head coach Alan Stubbs took a shine to him and handed him a three-year contract last summer.
The first of those seasons has been set aside to allow him to build up his fitness levels and adapt to life as a pro before pushing for more prominent involvement in Stubbs’ squad. This has involved being farmed out to East Fife, and he continued his promising start for Gary Naysmith’s team by tapping in their opener in a 4-2 win at Annan on Saturday.
“I’m just living my dream of playing professional football and I love it,” said Insall. “Hibs have taken a gamble on me and now East Fife have given me a chance to play. It’s beyond anything I could have imagined a year ago.
“I’m not ashamed to admit that, before I came up here, I used to have my son on a Friday and I used to have a drink every Sunday – that was my life. But now my life’s been completely turned on its head.
“I’ve 100 per cent become a better player since I came to Hibs. I see a big difference in myself since I came here, and a lot of that’s also down to coming to East Fife to get games. I feel fitter every time I play and I’ve lost two stone since I came to Hibs.
“Alan Stubbs wants me to use this season to get myself some games and get ready to be fighting to get into the side next season. I can see a massive difference but I’ve got a long way to go.
“I’m still in the transition process and I’m not deluded enough to think I’ve made it. But I believe in myself and I’m working as hard as I can and eating the right food. From where I was to where I am now, I’m really proud of myself.”
Insall’s loan deal at East Fife expires after this weekend’s trip to East Stirling, but he is hopeful of having it extended. He said: “I love it at East Fife. I just want to play games. We’ll reassess it after the East Stirling game but I’d like to stay on.”