Gareth Evans explains his plans for re-shaped Hibs Under-18s squad

Hibs youth coach Gareth Evans has explained the long-term approach he is adopting with his under-18 squad this season.

Hibs were crowned Under-18 Club Academy Scotland Elite Youth League champions last season, but many of the players who were part of that squad have moved up an age group and are now part of the development squad.

Former Hibs striker Evans, 55, has been reshaping his under-18 squad with a core of younger players who will have a couple of years to develop at under-18 level and was delighted to see the progression in Friday’s 5-2 win over St Mirren on Friday night after two narrow defeats to start the campaign.

“We are building this year,” Evans told the club website. “We have a really young team so it’s nice to play well and get a result, but the most important thing is that they get an experience of playing football at this level.

Hibs Under-18s head coach Gareth Evans has a younger squad this season

“Hopefully come next year, when a lot of them will still be eligible to play for the U18s, they have the experience to help them move forward in their careers.

“I’m delighted with the first half performance and there were a few good individual performances in there as well.”

The youngsters have some tough youth league games coming up against Rangers at HTC tonight (Tuesday) followed by matches against Celtic and Hearts in the coming weeks.

Josh Landers, who was recently called into the Scotland U16s squad, was one of the young standout performers on Friday against Saints, grabbing the fifth goal.

Evans believes playing at such a high level and at higher age group will allow the youngster from Innerleithen to develop and become a regular within the Scotland U-16 squad.

The coach added: “Josh is playing regularly now in U18s football with a 2007 birthday, which means he has another three years at this level.

“We try and promote players as early as we can to play at the best level that they can and hopefully that has helped Josh get into the Scotland squad and this experience does help him when he goes away with the national team.”