Hibs kid Oli Shaw is ready for the biggest season of his life as he seeks to become a frontline striker at Easter Road.
The 20-year-old has been prolific in front of goal for the Capital club’s development squad over the past couple of years and scored five times for the first team last term, including a debut strike at Hampden against Celtic in the Betfred Cup.
And Shaw gave boss Neil Lennon a timely reminder of his predatory powers on Wednesday evening, scoring twice as Hibs defeated Berwick Rangers 6-0 in their latest pre-season friendly as Swiss ace Florian Kamberi, back on a three-year contract having scored nine times in 14 appearances while on loan last season, was rested along with John McGinn, Marvin Bartley and Darren McGregor.
Kamberi is certain to start the new campaign as Lennon’s first-choice striker, leaving Simon Murray, who also scored at Shielfield, to battle with Shaw to become the former Grasshopper Zurich man’s partner up front.
Shaw said: “The gaffer mentioned it was a big season for me, that I have to make the breakthrough and take the chance when I get it because there are other young boys coming up behind me.
“And there could be new players coming because people want to play for Hibs so I have to take my chance rather than just wait around.”
To that end, Shaw admitted he was delighted to get off the mark against Berwick, taking advantage of a defensive blunder to put Hibs into an early lead before claiming his second with a tap-in 14 minutes from time.
He said: “It’s always good to get a couple of goals in pre-season, but it’s all about getting the fitness up with a big European game coming up next week.
“The gaffer tells me that as a striker he wants me to stay between the posts. I managed to capitalise on a mistake and hit it early to catch the goalkeeper off-guard. I thought I had missed but it went in off the post and that’s what counts.”
If it appears a straight fight between Shaw and Murray – last season’s top scorer with 15 goals despite spending the latter half of it on loan at Dundee – the youngster doesn’t see it in such terms.
He said: “Flo did well and is here on the back of what he did last season and if I play with him I’d hope to form a partnership with him. We’ve been working together in training on a few things that hopefully we can bring into games,
“But there’s competition for places. Simon has shown he can score goals, Martin Boyle is capable of scoring a few as are a number of others. It’s about taking your chance. If I play, I’ll be looking to score goals like a striker is supposed to do – and then we will take it from there.”