Hibs star Ryan Porteous admits being his own biggest critic after returning to starting XI
Playing regularly for one of the biggest clubs in the country, making his Hibs-daft family proud on a weekly basis, getting touted as a Scotland star of the future, worth in excess of £1 million; it’s fair to say things are going pretty well for Ryan Porteous. However, the 2020/21 campaign – his most productive to date – hasn’t been without its downsides.
The centre-back started the season in excellent form as Hibs raced into the battle for European football and made it to the Betfred Cup semi-final. He was rewarded with a Scotland call-up for his efforts as everything began clicking into place.
He was even shedding the accusation of being a reckless defender, something often thrown at him by opposing supporters, picking up just three bookings before the turn of the year.
However, his form suffered in January with a couple of high-profile mistakes. One of which, in the defeat to Rangers, had Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd questioning his ability and labelling his error “schoolboy stuff”.
For someone less than a week away from his 22nd birthday it’s quite a lot to burden. Thankfully for the Easter Road fans’ favourite, who recently returned to the starting XI following a spell on the bench following interest from Millwall, he knows to take both praise and criticism from outsiders in the same manner.
The man he has the most difficulty ignoring, however, is the one staring back in the mirror.
He told The Terrace Scottish Football Podcast: “I’ve never been one for listening to what the press or pundits have to say, because you’re never going to be as good as they say you are, and you’re never going to be as bad either. You have to take everything with a pinch of salt.
"I am quite hard on myself. The manager [Jack Ross] and assistant John Potter have tried to get me to be less hard on myself after games. They just keep reminding me that in certain parts of the game I’ve done well and over the course of the season I’ve been relatively consistent.
"There is points after big games, big losses, where you’ve maybe made mistakes with goals and you’ll maybe be bit down for a couple of days.
"The manager says after a result on a Saturday, ‘don’t come in here on Monday with your head down. We need a good attitude and a good work-rate’. At a big club like Hibs you can’t be sulking too long after a result.”
His committed style and some high-profile incidents, including irritating Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, have made him one of the most discussed and divisive young players in the country, but it’s not something he lets bother him.
He continued: "I always remember Neil Lennon saying something before a game that really stuck with me. He said that no fans boo or talk about a player all the time who isn’t doing well. They’re on the minds of fans because they’re a good player. You’ve got to take it as a compliment – well, sometimes it goes a bit too far – but you have to deal with the good and the bad.
"I’m in a good place right now. I've not had a lot of bad press recently. Hopefully I can keep that going.”