Hibs youngster Scott Martin has been compared to former Easter Road talisman Scott Allan.
The highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder has just had his one-month loan deal at Forfar Athletic extended until January after making a significant impact with the League One side.
Martin has scored two goals in five starts since joining the Station Park club last month. Forfar manager Dick Campbell prides himself on developing on-loan top-flight youngsters, having had the likes of Allan, Johnny Russell, Keith Watson and Joe Shaughnessy on short-term stints in the past, and he believes that he has another gem in his midst in the shape of Martin.
“He’s been an absolute breath of fresh air to everybody at our club since he came here,” Campbell told the Evening News. “He’s got a natural enthusiasm that I love. He’s a little buzzbomb. He works so hard. He just runs and runs and I love him to bits. He strikes me as being a young Scott Allan. He’s got a big chance of making it. He’s only 18, so he’s got plenty time.
“I’ve got a magnificent track record of taking these players on loan and sending them back to their clubs as better players. The likes of Johnny Russell and Scott Allan and all the other boys I have had have all gone back to their clubs better players, and I expect Scott Martin to do the same.”
Martin has made seven appearances for Hibs since making his debut against Falkirk at the age of 17 almost a year ago. The Easter Road side have him tied down on a contract until From Back Page
2018, and Campbell is delighted to be able to give him a platform to bridge the gap between the development league and becoming a regular in Hibs’ first team.
“It was actually Jimmy Nicholl [a former Cowdenbeath manager and Hibs coach] who recommended Scott to me last year,” said Campbell. “The first time I saw him, I thought ‘he can play’, but Hibs wouldn’t let him go. Then a few months further on, I went to watch him again and, for me, he didn’t do very well. Some of these boys don’t get tested enough in the Under-20 league for me and I think everyone at Hibs will agree Scott’s probably one of those. He looked as if he was going through the motions and needed a fresh challenge.
“I was fortunate when I phoned up Alan Stubbs again that Hibs had made a couple of additions in midfield, so there were less opportunities for Scott to play in the first team and more of an opportunity for him to go out on loan. He’s been brilliant for me. I ask for two things when I sign a player – he’s got to contribute and he’s got to play in the first team, and he’s done both.”
Campbell is thrilled to have retained the services of Martin for another couple of months, but is disappointed at Hibs’ decision not to allow him to play in Saturday’s Scottish Cup game away to Queen’s Park.
“We’ve extended his loan deal to the 17th January and hopefully we’ll get him to the end of the season,” he said. “But I’m gutted that they’re not letting me cup tie him for this weekend’s game. Aberdeen are the same with their player [Michael Rose] who is on loan with us. I don’t agree with it because Scott’s got a bit of momentum going and it would be a great experience for him to play at Hampden. He’s Hibs’ player, though, so it’s up to them. We’ll miss him.”
Campbell had Lewis Allan on loan from Hibs earlier in the season, but the 19-year-old striker’s stint at Station Park was cut short by injury in early October.
“Lewis is a lovely guy with raw potential,” said Campbell. “He played a couple of games for us earlier in the season and scored against Ayr United. He’s got pace and he can finish, but he just needs to get game awareness and learn the linkage part of being a striker. He’s certainly got all the raw materials so he’s got a chance. He’s away back to Hibs now because he’s injured – he’ll be out for a wee while.”