HIBS striker Jamie Insall insists he is hungry for title glory with East Fife after shedding two stone since his switch to Scotland.
The 24-year-old joined Hibs in September following a trial spell with the Capital club, having plundered goals for the likes of Bromyard Town, Worcester Raiders and Stourbridge in the English amateur ranks.
He admits the step up to Hibs, where he still trains on a Monday and Friday, has represented a massive step up in class – and fitness – from what he had been used to.
However, Insall is thriving with Gary Naismith’s League Two leaders, bagging seven goals in 17 games during a successful loan.
He said: “I would say I’ve stepped up five or six levels in the last six months, it’s been a whirlwind – and this season has been a jump in class.
“I’m benefiting from the training at Hibs and East Fife, enjoying the competition for places and feeling sharper than I ever have.
“I struggled with the pace of the game to start with, but this loan has helped that massively. The team has just got better and better – there is quality in the dressing-room, the tempo is fantastic and we are driving each other on to improve.
“It’s not as if I was fat to look at when I came up to Scotland, but I was very overweight for a footballer. I have lost about two stone coming up here, and after completing 90 minutes I feel ready for another 90 every week now.”
He has nothing but praise for the players and staff at Hibs, with the likes of Jason Cummings and Anthony Stokes providing a yardstick for his own progress, while the coaches at Easter Road ensure he never feels out of the picture.
He continued: “Jason [Cummings] is a really good friend of mine and has been absolutely on fire for long periods of this season.
“Guys like him and Anthony Stokes and James Keatings are inspirations every day in training. You watch them during shooting drills and that is the sort of quality you want to aspire to.
“Taff [assistant head coach, Andy Holden] goes through a video of my East Fife matches every Friday as well, so Hibs are always helping me improve and develop. I know I’m not the finished article, I’m a project, but I’ll go back to Hibs next season and we’ll see what the next step is.”
And he hopes to have a League Two winners’ medal to show for his effort.
The Fifers boast a one-point lead over Clyde at the summit ahead of the mouth-watering visit of Queen’s Park, who occupy fourth spot and are only six points off top spot themselves.
Insall added: “We are not making any grand claims, but there would be something wrong if we weren’t targeting the title. That is our aim and, if we play to our maximum then we will be there or thereabouts.
“Our last game against Queen’s Park at Hampden [last month], when we lost 3-0, was probably our worst performance of the season, so we are keen to get another really important win - and a bit of revenge.