East Fife manager Gary Naysmith believes on-loan Jamie Insall has a chance of making the grade at Hibs after being left impressed by his wholeheartedness and natural striker’s instinct.
The 23-year-old Englishman initially moved to the League Two side on a 28-day emergency loan at the start of November and last week had it extended until January 24.
Insall, who joined Hibs on a three-year deal in the summer after being plucked from the English non-league ranks, has only featured twice for East Fife after being sent off moments after scoring in his first start and second outing for the club, a 5-3 win over East Stirling on November 14.
Naysmith said: “The good thing is we’ve now got him until the end of January because I’ve been happy with what I’ve seen of him. There’s the possibility of extending it to the end of the season, but that’s a wee bit away yet. If Jamie scores a few goals for us, Alan might want him back so we’ll need to wait and see.
“I’ve got a good feeling about him though. I think he’s going to score goals regularly for us. The biggest thing about him has been his attitude and workrate. He looks like he just gives everything when he goes out on the pitch.
“In his first game, against Arbroath, he came on for the last thirty minutes at a time when we had fallen out of the game a bit so he was feeding off scraps, but he did fine.
“I started him against East Stirling the week after and he was lively. He had a hand in the first goal and got himself on the scoresheet but then got himself sent off. By the letter of the law it was a sending off because although he didn’t make contact with the player, he had both feet off the ground. I think he just had a rush of blood caused by the excitement of scoring a goal.
“The goal we scored was the fox-in-the-box type that we need. He had told me that about 25 of his goals last season came from in and around the six-yard box, and that’s exactly the type of player we needed. You can see in front of goal that he’s very composed.
“Everything’s good apart from the fact he’s been unable to play for a few weeks because of suspension and games getting rescheduled. He’s due to serve the second game of his suspension on Tuesday and then we’ll hope to have him back a week on Saturday.”
Insall had been keen to go out on loan, but Naysmith explained how former Easter Road idol Derek Riordan, who played for the Fifers last season and is currently training at Hibs, played a part in him choosing Bayview.
“I hadn’t seen lots of him before he came here but I’d had good reports,” he said. “Stubbsy’s a good judge of player and he’s obviously seen something in him or he wouldn’t have given him a three-year contract. We were one of a few clubs in for him, but the fact I know Stubbsy from Everton probably helped, as did the fact Jamie had been speaking to Derek Riordan. There were a couple of clubs from higher leagues in for him, but Derek advised him to come to East Fife because we’re a good club who will look after him.”
Insall has only made the bench once for Hibs, but Naysmith believes that if he remains patient, he can force his way into the first-team plans in the future. “He has to just keep learning from Stubbsy and picking things up from coaches and senior players and people like Derek Riordan,” he said. “People say things about Derek, but when I had him at East Fife he wasn’t a minute’s trouble. He was a great lad who trained well in every session and he was an unbelievable finisher. Jamie can learn from that. He’s got to keep biding his time. It would be easy for him to get impatient after coming up from England, but Hibs are on some run at the moment and they have an abundance of strikers. He’s realised himself that he’s needed to get out on loan, get game time, bang in some goals and try and say to Alan ‘look what I can do, I’m here if you need me’. That’s all you can do as a player.”