He didn’t quite blush as he stood in the corner of Easter Road’s press room listening to veteran Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd sing his praises.
But Hibs kid Oli Shaw admitted he was delighted to hear a player boasting 211 Premiership goals and now joint fourth in the all-time top flight scoring charts predict a bright future for him.
“Hibs could be on to a good thing there,” insisted 34-year-old Boyd after the pair had traded blows, the Killie hitman having fired his side ahead only for Shaw to take full advantage of a blunder by Rugby Park goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald to equalise.
It was Shaw’s razor-sharp reaction to MacDonald fumbling John McGinn’s corner which had caught Boyd’s eye, but while the former Scotland striker sees him as a bright prospect, the 19-year-old is very much living in the here and now, his prolific goal-scoring for Hibs development side having persuaded boss Neil Lennon he is more than ready for first team action.
Shaw has repaid Lennon’s faith, announcing himself on the big stage with a Betfred Cup goal against Celtic and then repeating the feat as Hibs held Brendan Rodgers’ side to a second league draw of the season.
But it was the eight days over the festive period which turned the spotlight very much on the youngster, a winning strike against Ross County – although the final touch might have come from Staggies’ defender Kenny van der Weg – followed by that much talked about “ghost goal” in his first Edinburgh derby and then the opportunistic effort which brought those kind words from Boyd.
Enough to mess with the head of any player far less one who has made just four first team starts, but Shaw displayed a temperament beyond his years as he looked back on his tumultuous week.
“That’s football, it’s full of ups and downs,” he said. “I’ll be claiming the goal against County, then there was the one that everybody knows about at Tynecastle to scoring against Killie, although it was unfortunate we didn’t get the three points as we dominated most of the game and has chances we couldn’t put away.”
Shaw insisted he was able to quickly move on from his disappointment in Gorgie, but admitted others had found it far harder to forget assistant referee Sean Carr failing to see his early strike had beaten Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin via the underside of his bar.
He revealed: “I’ve been getting messages here and there, screenshots. It seemed to annoy my pals who are Hibs fans, telling me I could have been a derby winner.
“It was disappointing, it might have given us the three points had it stood, but I move on and just focused on the Killie game.
“It was nice of Kris Boyd to have mentioned me afterwards. It’s always nice as a striker to be scoring a goal. It was a bit fortunate – but they all count. I’d been told to stand on the goalkeeper and if he spilled anything to be sharp. I got a bit lucky that I was on the spot.”
Shaw has been training with Lennon’s first-team squad since the start of the season, getting fleeting tastes of action in stepping off the bench, but has now started Hibs last three matches.
He said: “I didn’t have any targets. I just knuckled down, played my game and hoped the opportunity would come. Thankfully it has. The gaffer has shown good faith in me, trusted me and I look forward to getting back into it after the break.
“I just enjoy playing. I want to play every week and I’ve been given the opportunity to do that. Scoring against Celtic gave me a lot of confidence, but the derby was probably what I’ve enjoyed most. Everyone wants to play in an Edinburgh derby.”
Shaw insisted a season spent on loan with Stenhousemuir had played a huge part in his development, but it’s been the support of his team-mates which, he admitted, has proved instrumental in making the breakthrough.
He said: “I had that experience of first team football at Stenhousemuir last year and I’ve been training with the squad since the start of the season. The boys have been great with me, they are all good lads.
“Danny Swanson has played with the 20s a few times to get his fitness up, he’s been good. Marvin Bartley, David Gray, John McGinn, all of them.
“Playing up front with Stokesy [Anthony Stokes] and Simon [Murray] has been good. They have all been good, giving me advice, different bits and pieces, different parts of my game to work on. I’ve taken it on board and worked my way in.”
While many might wonder how Murray, the club’s top scorer with 14 goals thanks mainly to an early season burst, might have reacted to seeing the youngster seemingly step ahead of him in the pecking order, Shaw insisted there is not even a hint of resentment from the former Dundee United player.
He said: “Me and Simon get on well. He’s one of my good pals in the team and even when I was picked ahead of him at the weekend he was there telling me what to do, giving me wee tips, supporting me and wanting me to do well.”
Lennon has spoken of his desire to bring in another attack-minded player during this transfer window in a bid to boost Hibs’ push to climb even higher than fourth in the Premiership table but, again, Shaw was adamant he’ll take any developments in his stride.
“There’s always speculation about people coming to the club,” he added. “I’ll focus on myself, knuckle down and hopefully the gaffer chooses me ahead of anyone if he does sign someone new.”