Ryan Gauld has already shown he is going to be a key player in Hibs’ bid to push themselves back into the top half of the Premiership and into the European places, team-mate Daryl Horgan has claimed.
The on-loan Sporting Lisbon midfielder wasted no time in showing his intentions, delivering a defence-splitting pass for Florian Kamberi to send the Easter Road side on their way to an easy 4-0 Scottish Cup win over Elgin City.
Horgan, who scored twice to go with a Stevie Mallan penalty, believes Gauld can be the playmaker Neil Lennon has been looking for, a natural No.10.
The Republic of Ireland winger said: “We all saw Ryan’s quality. I thought he was brilliant. His control in tight areas, his awareness of where everyone is on the pitch, his weight of pass, things like that. He is going to be a massive addition for us and he will help us all.
“I think he helped us tick in this game. He is a very intelligent player and you don’t get a move to a big club like Sporting Lisbon when you are that young if you’re not and he is going to be a big plus for us in the second half of the season.
“We have not had someone who is naturally built for it and he seems to have a knack for being in the right place, as we saw out there.
“The game looked easy for him. No game of football is easy but he just looked comfortable, in possession and even when he didn’t have the ball he managed to make sure he had a wee three yard circle of space around him and gave us an option so hopefully he can keep that level going and he will be a big plus for us.”
Belgian Under-21 internationalist Stephane Omeonga was at Easter Road to witness the win having flown in to put the finishing touches to his loan move from Genoa. But while confessing to not knowing too much about Hibs’ latest acquisition, Horgan said: “It is going to be interesting to see how he fits in and what he’s like.”
Head coach Lennon is also hopeful of a deal being negotiated to allow Scott Allan to join Hibs for a third time this month, the Celtic midfielder having agreed a pre-contract to return in the summer - if moves to have him come in before the transfer deadline don’t come to fruition.
Lennon has been looking for more dynamism, pace and goals and Horgan believes the January arrivals so far – with a winger and another striker still on the shopping list – will bring that.
Horgan added: “think that has always been the way the manager wanted to set his side up, to be attacking and fluid. We are not a rigid, pass, here, pass there and there and then the ball goes in.
“There is a bit more chopping and changing and movement which is tough to play against but we will have to see over the next few weeks how we go from here. This was a good result and we are happy to be in the next round of the cup, but we have to keep that going.”