An “experienced” Hearts team defeated a young Hibs side 2-1 at the Oriam today in the SPFL Reserve League Cup group stages.
But with three 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old, was the Hearts team really that much more “experienced” that their Hibs counterparts?
Hibs lined up with Kevin Dabroswki, Ben Stirling, Kevin Waugh and Innes Murray, all 20, with 21-year-old striker Lewis Allan also in the starting XI.
Jamie Gullan, Sean Mackie and Fraser Murray (all 19) were handed starting berths while Callum Yeats, Kane O’Connor and Josh Campbell - 16, 17 and 18 respectively - completed Grant Murray’s team.
Hearts also had a 20-year-old goalkeeper in Kevin Silva, a back four comprising 16-year-old Cammy Logan, 17-year-old Chris Hamilton, 19-year-old Daniel Baur and recent signing Clevid Dikamona, 28.
In midfield, 29-year-old duo Olly Bozanic and Arnaud Djoum were joined by 17-year-old pair Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald, while 21-year-old Craig Wighton and 24-year-old Danny Amankwaa started in attack.
The average age of the Hibs team was 19 but the presence of five teenagers alongside the trio of players in their late twenties brought the average age of the reserve Jambos down to 21.5 years.
Despite the rebranding of the Development League to the SPFL Reserve League from this season, Hibs are maintaining a policy of selecting players who would otherwise be in the club’s development squad.
The Easter Road side are still referring to their second string team as the Hibs Development Squad, and former development squad players Ryan Porteous and Oli Shaw have gone onto feature regularly for the first team and were both included in the most recent Scotland Under-21 squad.
From the Hibs team today Lewis Allan, Jamie Gullan, Fraser Murray, Innes Murray and Sean Mackie have all experienced first team action while Ben Stirling and Kevin Dabrowski have been included in matchday squads in the last 12 months.
For their opponents, Harry Cochrane (25 appearances) Arnaud Djoum (93 appearances) and Anthony McDonald (18 appearances) have all been regular starters for the Hearts first team.
Daniel Baur, currently on loan at Albion Rovers, has made two appearances for the senior side while Danny Amankwaa, Olly Bozanic, Chris Hamilton and Cammy Logan have also featured.
Yet to make a competitive start for Hearts, Craig Wighton nevertheless has more than 90 Scottish Premiership appearances under his belt from his time at Dundee while Clevid Dikamona has made over 30 appearances in the French second tier, 34 apperances in English League Two and has been capped by Congo.
Hibs: Dabrowski, O’Connor, Mackie, Campbell, Stirling, Waugh, F Murray, I Murray, Allan, Gullan, Yeates.
Hearts: Silva, Logan, Hamilton, Dikamona, Baur, Bozanic, Cochrane, Djoum, McDonald, Amankwaa, Wighton.