Hibs youngster Jamie Gullan hailed as better prospect than Hearts duo Jason Holt and Jamie Walker

Easter Road starlet made bigger impression during Raith loan
Hibernian’s Jamie Gullan during the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie Stadium on March 07, 2020. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Hibernian’s Jamie Gullan during the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie Stadium on March 07, 2020. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Hibernian’s Jamie Gullan during the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie Stadium on March 07, 2020. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Hibs striker Jamie Gullan has been tipped to become a future star by his former League One strike partner.

John Baird was hugely impressed with the 20-year-old during his loan spell at Raith Rovers last season, and reckons he is one of the best prospects he has played alongside.

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Baird also shared a dressing room with up and coming youngsters Jamie Walker and Jason Holt while the then Hearts pair were on loan at Stark's Park during the 2011-12 season.

But the veteran frontman, who is preparing to emigrate to Australia with his family this weekend after ending his third spell at Raith, reckons Gullan is a more promising talent at the same age.

"He's definitely better than Jason Holt was. He never really did anything at Raith, while Jamie Walker did well in patches," Baird said.

"If you're putting Jamie Gullan in the same bracket then he's definitely ahead in terms of his strength and power. That's why I think he can go and play in the Premier League.

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"He's quick and he's a well-built boy so physically he'll be able to handle himself in that Hibs team. There's not many boys with his strength at his age.

"He maybe just needs to bring a bit more consistency to his game, but that comes with experience, age and playing games."

Hibs return to training on Monday and Gullan will be looking to pick up where he left off after scoring his first goal for the club in the 5-2 win over Inverness in the Scottish Cup quarter-final, before earning his first start in the final match before the shutdown, a 3-1 defeat at Aberdeen, on March 7.

"He got a breakthrough at the end of the season there and the pandemic has actually stopped him getting a few more games under his belt," Baird added.

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"But if he's looked after himself over the last three months, trains properly and brings that consistency then he can definitely do well for himself. There's nothing to say he can't be one of the main men for Hibs this year."

Gullan has earned the nickname 'Hammer' for his powerful shot, something that Baird witnessed during his time at Raith, as the Easter Road youngster bagged nine goals in 18 appearances in the first half of last season to help the Kirkcaldy side towards the League One title.

"You saw it in training. He can absolutely muller a ball," Baird said. "It's a good skill to have and reminds you of the likes of Jorg Albertz. It's something he's got in his armoury and another good option for Hibs to have.

"The game's changed from the days of John Robertson or Ally McCoist, they were instinct finishers. Jamie's not got that, but he's a more rounded player. He will score goals from outside the box, and he's got a good shot.

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"I wouldn't say he's a natural finisher. I'd be surprised if he hit 20 goals a season but his assists will be up there and he could get double figures possibly.

"It's just the way the game is now, but as a number 10, he's hard to pick up so he'll always get a lot of shots from outside the box and, more often than not, he'll hit the target."

The financial crisis brought upon by the pandemic could boost Gullan's first team chances with Hibs likely to rely more heavily on their crop of youngsters with recruitment plans currently on hold until the economic situation recovers.

"If Hibs had a full budget they could maybe have brought in another striker, and that maybe brings people who are already at the club down a peg, so it could only help him," Baird added.

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"I think in Jamie they've already got somebody in there who can do a job. I don't know if he could lead the line himself at the minute but he can definitely play off a strike partner.

"He can play in four attacking positions so that'll be very helpful for the squad, and makes him a good option for the manager Jack Ross because of his flexibility. I think he'll do well."

Baird also worked under Grant Murray's tenure as Raith manager and he feels sorry for the situation the Hibs first team coach currently finds himself in with his position reportedly under threat of redundancy.

"He's worked hard in there and got himself a good job," Baird said. "I don't really know much about the situation at Hibs but I just hope whatever happens it works out for the best for him.

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"It's hard to explain Grant because he just did his job, and that was it. It didn't matter what was happening, he just got on with it. The season we nearly won the league, and the season we were fighting relegation, there was no difference with Grant.

"He just did what he always did, whereas myself, I could get erratic with things. He was always calm and a good example in the dressing room. Because of his work ethic, players look up to him. His attitude and professionalism just rubs off on the younger boys."