Teenage Hibs goalkeeper Kleton Perntreou has vowed he won’t give up the gloves without a struggle after helping the Easter Road side clock up three successive clean sheets.
The 19-year-old has been given the chance to impress after the Capital club were left without an experienced goalkeeper with Ben Williams and Sean Murdoch allowed to leave along with youngster Paul Grant at the end of last season.
As head coach Alan Stubbs launched a search for a new No.1 and, with Frenchman Antoine Gounet currently on trial, Perntreou shared goalkeeping duties in Hibs’ first two pre-season games against Vale of Leithen and Berwick Rangers with 17-year-old Sean Brennan.
But the Perntreou, who was born in the Albanian capital, Tirana, enjoyed the full 90 minutes against Dunfermline this week and although Pars goalkeeper Ryan Scully caught the eye with a string of stunning saves including a spot-kick stop from Hibs skipper Liam Craig, Perntreou pulled off an equally impressive save in the dying minutes to ensure the game ended goalless.
Perntreou is, of course, well aware of the moves Stubbs is making, but he insisted he is not allowing that to distract him.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity for me at the moment and all I can do is try my best.
“The gaffer has told me just to play as I normally do, not to try to impress him too much, but obviously I want to catch his eye and show him I can do well.”
Having spent last season playing Under-20 football, Perntreou admitted the opportunity to play with Stubbs’ first-team squad was not only unexpected but vindicated his decision to quit Bristol City in favour of a move to Edinburgh.
The 6ft 3in youngster said: “Although I was born in Albania my family moved to Athens when I was five. I was playing for boys clubs in Athens when it was suggested I should try my luck in England.
“Bristol City took me on trial and offered me a contract. I decided to come to Hibs after just one year because I thought there would be more of a chance here.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. Getting a chance to play first-team football, even if it’s only been pre-season games so far, was a bit of a surprise, but it’s also given me a great chance to show the new boss what I can do.”
Hibs will complete their preparations for the new season by playing Dundee United at Easter Road on Sunday, July 27 (kick-off 2pm) and East Fife in Methil on Wednesday, July 30 (kick-off 7.45pm).