Hibs combined team of the year: Which first team, under-18, and women's players made the cut?
and live on Freeview channel 276
Despite a disappointing season for the men’s senior team there were still a handful of players who caught the eye, while the league-winning exploits of the youth team meant they had several candidates for a combined XI. The women’s team too had numerous players with a strong claim for inclusion.
In the end five under-18s, two first-teamers, and four Hibs Women players made the final team.
Goalkeeper – Murray Johnson, Hibs U18s
Perhaps a little harsh on Gabby English, who kept 12 clean sheets in 26 games for the women’s team, but it isn’t very often that any Hibs team mounts a title charge – and wins. The 17-year-old has pulled off some fine saves for Gareth Evans’ side and the Scotland Under-19 internationalist has 14 shutouts of his own.
It would be no surprise to see Johnson building on this season next term.
Right centre-back – Leah Eddie, Hibs Women
Still just 21 but a regular in the Scotland national squad, the centre-back can also operate in midfield, which might explain her prowess with the ball at her feet. Looks so accomplished on the right of a back three and her range of passing makes her a fine option in defence.
Centre-back – Ryan Porteous, Hibs senior men
Picked up the club’s Young Player of the Year award, having only just turned 23 in March, for an impressive season. Should have played more but for repeated suspensions but when he was on the park, looked confident and assured. Vastly improved on the 2020/21 season, one can only wonder how Hibs might have fared had he played in every game.
Left centre-back – Mack Weir, Hibs U18s
Unlucky to fly under the radar a bit because of defensive partner Jacob Blaney’s time with the first team but Weir has had a fine season in defence for the youth team. Built like a brick outhouse and a threat in the opposition box at set-pieces, he has kept 14 clean sheets and contributed five goals to the under-18s. Injured at the start of the season, he worked his way back into the team and was a mainstay in the backline. Much more comfortable on the ball and regularly bailed his team-mates out of trouble.
Right wing-back – Chris Cadden, Hibs senior men
Had looked a good acquisition in the second half of last season but was missing goals and assists from his all-round game. Added both this year in a campaign bookended by injury and if Hibs had had an experienced striker to carry the can once Christian Doidge and Kevin Nisbet were sidelined, Cadds may well have ended up with more assists.
Central midfield – Amy Gallacher, Hibs Women
Predominantly an attacking midfielder but shoe-horned into a role in the middle of the park to fit this formation, Gallacher had a fine campaign in green and white, culminating in a move to Celtic and following in the footsteps of her great-grandad Patsy Gallacher. Classy, industrious, and with an eye for goal, she is surely on the cusp of a Scotland call-up – which may well come if she can continue her form with the Hoops.
Central midfield – Murray Aiken, U18s
The ‘Mister Reliable’ of the youth team, the Peebles midfielder played a number of games at centre-half while the Under-18s were hampered by defensive injuries and barely put a foot wrong but it was in midfield that he stole the show. A calm head in the middle with a heck of an engine on him, he mastered the art of the late run into the box and chipped in with a few goals. Deservedly made his debut in the final game of the season and kept seasoned veteran Liam Craig quiet.
Left-wingback – Colette Cavanagh, Hibs Women
Rambunctious and rampaging, Cav has had another stand-out season, chipping in with some lovely strikes from distance and generally running herself into the ground in the middle of the park. Her versatility saw her deployed in the left-wingback role on occasion and she excelled there as well. An important player for Hibs – perhaps more so next season with the departure of Gallacher to Celtic.
No.10 – Connor Young, U18s
Had it not been for injury to Josh O’Connor and international duty for Ethan Laidlaw, Young would surely have got a chance in the first team. A total of 25 goals and 17 assists in all competitions is some return and he will be looking to build on it next term.
Centre-forward – Josh O’Connor, U18s
Formed a deadly partnership with Young and made his first-team debut in the 3-1 defeat by Aberdeen in March. Suffered injury towards the end of the season and had to sit out the last few under-18s matches. The young team certainly missed his X-factor in some matches and he would almost certainly have added to his 20-goal haul and nine assists had he been fit to play on.
Centre-forward – Eilidh Adams, Hibs Women
Justpips fellow striker Alexa Coyle to this spot, the teenager edging it having battled back from injury midway through the season to hit the goal trail once again.
The childhood Hibee scored in all three derbies against Hearts, was on target for the Scotland Under-19s, and has a big future ahead of her.
Honourable mentions / subs:
As mentioned, Gabby English kept 12 clean sheets in 26 games in her first season in Scottish football including against Glasgow City in her final appearance. Shannon Leishman and Ellis Notley were notable standouts throughout the season for Dean Gibson’s side and both recently signed contract extensions.
Lewis Stevenson continues to roll back the years and put in consistent displays all over the park while Malik Zaid went from occasional sub to a key performer for the under-18s and was rewarded with a professional contract.
In attack, Alexa Coyle impressed during her debut season and only narrowly missed out on a starting role while Martin Boyle’s importance to Hibs was clear to see as the team struggled following his transfer to Al-Faisaly while Ethan Laidlaw also chipped in with some key goals for the 18s.