Now the 21-year-old is a mainstay in the Hibs first team, having been handed a surprise start in November’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final victory over Rangers, and has just earned his first ever international call-up alongside Easter Road team-mate Josh Doig in the Scotland Under-21s.
Inclusion in Scot Gemmill’s side for the upcoming matches against Turkey and Kazakhstan came as a total surprise to the boyhood Hibee.
“I came in from training and my phone was just blowing up with messages from my friends and family. It was actually Josh who told me, ‘you’ve been called up’ and that was the first I knew about it,” the combative midfielder says.
“I’ve been asking Josh how it is and he’s said it’s good, with a good group pf boys. I know a few of them from playing against them for a few years so, I’m looking forward to it.”
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Despite involvement in the Europa Conference League matches and a substitute appearance on the opening day of the season – coincidentally at the home of this weekend’s Scottish Cup opponents Motherwell – Campbell found himself out of the team until he impressed in a second-half showing against Celtic at Easter Road in late October. He has featured in every match since.
“It’s pretty crazy how far I’ve come this season but I think it’s down to what I’ve put in behind the scenes,” he adds.
“I’ve worked really hard for this to happen – now I need to keep doing what I’m doing and not let this slip.”
His manager Shaun Maloney was equally delighted.
“I was really, really chuffed for Josh. He has played a lot for me, sometimes through necessity but he also has come through some hard times, had mistakes in games, but shown real mental strength to come back to the form he is in.
“He was excellent against Celtic. In the last three or four games he and Jake Doyle-Hayes have been a big reason why we are so good defensively.
"I’m really chuffed to see him and Josh in the squad as well as call-ups for Murray Johnson and Ethan Laidlaw.”