Teenage hot-shot Oli Shaw has told Hibs boss Neil Lennon he’s ready for tomorrow night’s derby against Hearts after claiming his first goal for the Easter Road club at Hampden.
The 19-year-old, who had scored five times in his previous two games for the Capital outfit’s development squad, was given the nod ahead of top scorer Simon Murray with Hibs trailing Celtic 3-1 in their Betfred Cup semi-final.
Shaw scored within seconds of replacing Vykintas Slivka, raising hopes Lennon’s side, who had fallen behind to two first-half goals from Mikael Lustig, could upset Celtic and clinch a place in next month’s final.
But Moussa Dembele put the game beyond Neil Lennon’s players when he claimed his second two minutes from time, the substitute having earlier restored his club’s two-goal cushion after Anthony Stokes had reduced the deficit from the penalty spot.
His delight tinged with disappointment, Shaw said: “I was sent to warm up with Simon and I thought the gaffer was going to put a striker on to try to get back into the game. It was going to be either one of us and I was happy he called on me. Hopefully I’ve repaid him. It was my second touch. I just made the sort of run I usually make and Steven Whittaker spotted it. I’m happy with the impact I made – that’s what the gaffer told me to go on and do.”
Hibs’ Under-20s have an SFA Youth Cup tie against East Kilbride at Easter Road on Thursday night but now, admitted Shaw, he has his fingers crossed he’ll be involved against Hearts.
He said: “It’s a massive game for us to bounce back in. I’m sure the boys will be right up for it so hopefully we get the result.
“Being a striker scoring goals is always a good thing. But it’s up to the gaffer to pick who he thinks is best to do the job on the day. I’ve not scored against Hearts for a wee while but hopefully I can do that tomorrow night.”
Shaw revealed his semi-final strike wasn’t his first goal at Hampden – he scored twice for Stenhousemuir against Queens Park towards the end of last season while out on loan.
“Obviously, it wasn’t quite the same type of game,” he said. “There were just a few hundred there that day so it’s a big difference to playing in front of 40,000.”
And Shaw also disclosed that he had his own fan club at the game, his father Greg and grandfather Dick who, like him, both played as strikers.
The Scotland Under-19 cap said: “My grandpa is my biggest fan so it was great to have him there watching. He and my dad have both been big influences on me. They come at watch every game. They are up in Aberdeen, everywhere.
“They always give me advice and tell me to go and enjoy the experience if I get on. I didn’t see my dad play as I was too young and I obviously didn’t see my grandad play either but from what I hear, he was a good player. I’ve heard the stories.
“We’re a big football family. It was football for me pretty much from the day I was born. There are photos of me with a ball so it’s always been in my life.
“I’ve always been a striker, always wanted to be the one scoring goals.”