Teenager Calum Hall is lapping up every second of this season’s journey with Edinburgh City.
Having elected to remain in the Capital following his release from Hibs at the beginning of last season, Hall was initially to team up with the club’s Under-20 squad.
However, it soon became apparent that the Citizens had a real talent on their hands and defender Hall – who has been deployed in midfield too – soon found himself promoted to the first-team squad.
The player went on to register 19 appearances last term as City fought tooth and nail to preserve their SPFL league status.
And although he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to flourish this term with manager James McDonaugh sticking with a core XI that have stormed their way to the top of Ladbrokes League Two, the 18-year-old insists he is loving life at Ainslie Park.
The youngster has made several appearances from the bench but has been limited to just one start, the 4-0 defeat by Queen of the South in the Betfred Cup in July.
“Even though I’ve not played as much as I would have liked this year, I’ve learned so much and it’s great to be a part of the success we’ve had so far,” Hall said ahead of tomorrow’s visit of fourth-placed Annan.
“When I signed at the start of last season, I came straight from Under-17s and boys’ football at Hibs straight into professional football, so it was a massive jump. I was still at school so it was a huge learning curve. Although it wasn’t a great season in terms of results, it really opened my eyes.
“Colin Jack (now City’s first-team coach) signed me for Hibs so it was good to see a familiar face when the gaffer and Colin came in last season.
“With the players that arrived at the club in the summer, it was always going to be difficult for me to get some regular game time but I’m only 18 so I’ve got plenty time on my side.
“I’ve maybe not played as much but I’ve come on leaps and bounds learning from the more experienced players. Guys like Danny Handling and Danny Galbraith have played at the top level in Scotland so it can only benefit me. I really enjoy training with these guys.
“I’ve just got to bide my time and be patient.
“It’s a long season so we’ve still got a lot of matches still to play but I’m sure I’ll get my chance again. Injuries and suspensions are part and parcel of football so I just have to be ready when my time comes.”
Hall came on as a second-half substitute against Motherwell in July and loved every second against their Premiership opponents.
However, he made his most telling contribution from the bench in the 3-2 victory over East Kilbride during September’s win in the Irn-Bru Cup when, losing 2-1 with just six minutes to spare, Hall turned the game in City’s favour.
“That was a good day at East Kilbride,” he recalled. “I think I did well when I came on and set up two goals to get us over the line. It was also great to play at Fir Park and it gave a little insight into full-time football and what to expect if you keep your head down and work hard.
“I think these games at the start of the season against the likes of Motherwell and Queen of the South really set us up well.
“It’s hugely exciting with what could happen between now and the end of the season. But we have to focus on Annan tomorrow first before thinking about anything else. Everyone has played their part so it’s been a real squad effort.
“We’re not sitting top of the league and through to the semi-finals of a national cup competition for nothing.”