Terry Butcher today warned Scottish defenders they can kick Hibs winger Duncan Watmore all they like – but he’ll just keep coming back for more.
The 19-year-old was left battered and bruised after a tough introduction to the game north of the border in which three Raith Rovers players were booked for scything him down as the Fife side pulled off a Scottish Cup upset at Easter Road.
The on-loan Sunderland kid admitted he hadn’t suffered such treatment since his non-league days with Altrincham, but Butcher believes he’ll have to brace himself for more of the same in the weeks to come. However, the manager claimed such a thought won’t faze Watmore. “Duncan is a game boy,” said Butcher. “He’ll come back for more because he is a genuine guy, a real good bright kid who loves his football and wants to play and take people on. It was a sparkling debut, a bruising introduction to Scottish football, but he relished it.
“He excites me very much because he’s the sort of player who loves to get on the ball, loves to take people on and if you are that sort of player you will get heavy treatment if you are good. Sometimes you have to accept it. It’s not Under-21 football, it’s men’s football. I think, though, you can see Duncan is willing, an honest boy. You can see he doesn’t dive, it has to be something to make him go to ground.”
Watmore’s pace and directness is, no doubt, already circulating amongst Hibs upcoming opponents. But Butcher believes the obvious threat he poses can create space for others, hoping that along with Alex Harris on the opposite flank the pair can work in tandem to stretch opposition defences.
He said: “He’s not going to get one player up against him, he’s going to get at least two players surrounding him, trying to stop him doing what he can do. But we need that on both flanks rather than just one.
“We need to give the ball to Alex Harris on the other side and get him to do what Duncan was doing.
“Then we have a threat, making sure we pull defenders around and then, sooner or later, you are going to have an opportunity one-on-one.”
Meanwhile, as the knee injury picked up by midfielder Scott Robertson in the “mini-derby” win over Hearts is assessed, Butcher revealed Ryan McGivern could be back in the reckoning for Saturday’s league clash with Ross County.
The Northern Ireland left back has missed Hibs last two matches after picking up a hamstring problem, but has now returned to training.