Josh Doig's attributes reeled off as Hibs youngster earns seal of approval from elders
There is a renewed sense of conviction in the Hibs squad as they home in on their targeted third-place finish and work to ensure this is a season not quickly forgotten.
Chasing the highest finish in 16 years and, depending on what happens with the Scottish Cup, the promise of European football until December, all of that would be the metaphorical cherry on top of Josh Doig’s cake, one he managed to ice on Saturday.
A youngster whose ability and physicality hint at maturity beyond his years, the infectious joy he conveys in every game serves to remind that he is still a young lad pinching himself as he lives out his dream.
Conscientious, he impressed in those early games, displaying defensive quality and a potent attacking threat, as he started the season at left-back, ahead of Lewis Stevenson and Sean Mackie, but it is the way he has developed throughout his debut season that highlights his potential to eventually shine at a higher level.
Against Hamilton, as well as helping the side record another clean sheet, their fourth in six league games, the wing-back registered another landmark - his first senior goal for the club.
Most of the key moments of the match came in the first half as Jamie Hamilton was sent off in the 12th minute and Martin Boyle’s opener followed less than 60 seconds later. The Australian international also missed a penalty and Brian Rice’s men snatched at the hope that offered them. But it was Doig who popped up in the 69th minute to head home the second goal and keep the dogged relegation battlers at arms length.
"It's good to see him get his first goal,” said experienced defensive colleague Paul Hanlon.
"He had a few shots in the first half and at the break he said: 'I don't know when I am going to score'. But then he gets his goal so I am pleased for him. It's no more than his performances deserve. He's been great since he came into the team.
"His energy and pace to get up the pitch is different class. Josh does everything for us. He digs in defensively and he is also a great asset going forward too.”
Already being tracked by several big clubs, including Manchester City, the 18 year-old’s Hibs colleagues are happy to hold on to him for as long as possible.
“He has a massive future in the game,” conceded Hanlon. “You look at everything he has, his pace, his physicality and his size for his age is brilliant. That's a great starting block and he will just keep learning from games.
"He is in a good place, working under good staff, a good manager and in a good squad. Hopefully he keeps progressing.”
Praising his attitude and willingness to listen and apply himself, the Scotland defender sees no reason why he won’t.
"Josh is a hard worker. He is honest. He comes in and he still helps with the balls in the morning, so he does his jobs. He is always in the gym doing extra bits.
“He’s got the attitude so it’s just about keeping his standards high. There will be dips and that’s when boys like me need to look after him. But so far there haven’t been many.”