Hibs’ top-scorer Jason Cummings has warned the influx of new strikers at Easter Road that they’ll face a fight to take his place in Alan Stubbs’ side.
As if to underline his determination to hold onto his shirt, the 20-year-old claimed his fifth goal of the season as Hibs strolled to a comfortable win over Alloa Athletic, the other strikes coming from midfielders Liam Henderson and John McGinn.
And not only is Cummings intent on ensuring he remains Stubbs’ first pick up-front, he’s set his sights on beating last season’s 22 goals, a tally which made him the leading marksman in the Championship.
Acknowledging Stubbs has brought in “quality” strikers in the past few days in the shape of Islam Feruz, Henri Anier and Jamie Insall to add to the likes of James Keatings, Dominique Malonga and Farid El Alagui, Cummings said: “There’s great competition in that area now.
“I’m looking over my shoulder because there’s six or seven who want to play, so I just have to keep working hard for the team and scoring goals to keep my place.
“The competition is healthy – it keeps everyone on their toes – but I have my jersey at the moment, so if I keep scoring goals hopefully I will keep it. But the competition will make me play better.
“The gaffer only brings in quality players. I’ve seen the likes of Izzy [Feruz] in training and he’s looked fast and sharp.”
Admitting he’d “got a bit lucky” as his shot crept under Alloa goalkeeper David Crawford to put Hibs two up, Cummings revealed he’s aware his role involves more than just scoring.
He said: “The gaffer has said to me it’s not all about scoring, as long as I work hard for the team I will keep my jersey. Personally I like scoring every week. But once even if I played rubbish and scored, I was happy.
“But now if I don’t score it’s about working well for the team, to play well all round, linking things up and so on.”
Having said that, though, Cummings still has eyes on topping the goal-scoring charts again this season
saying: “I don’t feel any
pressure. The only pressure comes from myself, but I want to go better than last season and as long as I score more than I did then I will be happy, I know I can do it.”
Cummings admitted, however, he did wonder where the chances would come from as Championship player-of-the-year Scott Allan moved to Celtic, but now he has no such worries with the likes of McGinn, Henderson and Dylan McGeouch supplying the ammunition.
He said: “Scott used to
assist me all the time and I did think I might struggle with him going but the gaffer has brought in some unbelievable midfielders, the same type of players and I know they are going to set me up.”