Hibs boss Jack Ross hopes Jamie Gullan can break into his first team
Young striker will play last game for Raith this weekend
Hibs boss Jack Ross has his fingers crossed that Jamie Gullan can make the breakthrough at Easter Road after knocking in the goals which have helped Raith Rovers head League One.
The 20-year-old joined Ross’s squad for this week’s training camp in the south of Spain but will head home early to play one last game for Rovers – away to Forfar on Saturday – after the clubs agreed the shortest of extensions to his loan deal.
Gullan has netted nine goals for the Stark’s Park side, becoming their top scorer, and Ross believes that allowing the youngster to play at Station Park will be good for all concerned.
He said: “Obviously Raith were keen to have him for as long as they could. It was probably no loss for me in the respect he can go and play another game for them.
“It keeps him ticking over match-fitness wise. He’ll fly back at the end of the week, plays another game and then returns to us at the beginning of next week in the best frame of mind and condition, so it was an unusual situation but a no-lose situation for us.
“It was also good to help John (Raith manager McGlynn) and his team because they have been good for Jamie through the course of the season.”
But, revealed Ross, Gullan has already caught his eye, saying: “The first thing when you go on loan is to try to make an impression. He has done that which then makes people at your parent club think ‘should he be with us?’
“Then everything I have seen of him in training... he’s a player who is hungry to make that impression. Again you just don’t know. How do players handle the pressure and expectation of playing for our first team which is different to what he is used to.
“But everything he has shown so far, and plus he comes in a positive frame of mind because of the season he has had, so I’d love it if he did because it’s always encouraging if you have your own players coming through and making an impression and a consistent impression in your first team.”
Ross also believes that playing with the pressure of being involved in a title race will also have been good for Gullan.
He said: “When players go on loan there are certain things you look for. One is game time, but they have to earn that game time. I don’t think Jamie went straight in, he had to work his way into the team.
“As he has mentioned, outside of Falkirk, he is playing for the biggest team in that league and the expectation is to either win the league or promotion and that is a different mindset to have to deal with it.
“So, as he has touched on, it’s probably been really good for him and he has handled it, not only to be playing first-team football week in week out but first-team football with an expectation as well.