Michael Weir: Nothing to worry about with Ryan Porteous - he must follow George Stewart's wise words

Young players making mistakes is just part and parcel of the game so I wasn’t too concerned to see Ryan Porteous having a wee moment against St Johnstone.

By Michael Weir
Thursday, 6th May 2021, 7:00 am
Ryan Porteous is pictured at full time following Hibs' 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone
Ryan Porteous is pictured at full time following Hibs' 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone

The great George Stewart who was at Hibs for many years as a centre-back, and coached me when I was younger, had a great bit of advice.

He would always say to defenders, ‘Don’t be a clever centre-back; be a good centre-back. If you try to be a clever centre-back you’ll come unstuck. Just be a good defender’.

It’s fine as long as Porteous learns from it. All young players make mistakes. Of course, making errors in big games where there is a lot up for grabs can cost you.

Sign up to our Hibs football newsletter

Former Hibs centre-back and assistant manager George Stewart

But this is a young man who has to learn from his mistakes. The important part is not whether or not he makes a mistake, it’s how he learns from it – no player can go on making error after error.

I wouldn’t be too downbeat about it. A young lad has made a mistake and as long as he can use it to better himself, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again, it’s not an issue.

When centre-backs, and goalkeepers for that matter, make mistakes, they get punished. That’s what happened against St Johnstone, and that was the difference between the two teams.

It’s important now that Porteous keeps on learning how to be a good defender – and not a clever one – and with that, the mistakes should be fewer and far between.

I still think he has a lot to learn and Saturday backs that up. Focus on just being a defender, nothing else, and don’t take chances. He had opportunities to get it up the park and on this occasion that’s probably what he should have done.

Players who don’t learn from their mistakes will not survive in the game, no matter how good they may be or what promise they show.

Porteous is still a young man and he’s done well to improve since breaking into the first team at Hibs. There are always going to be mistakes in young defenders, that comes with the territory.

He’s only made one or two high-profile errors but the learning is the most important part. That can be the difference between moving up a level, or playing with one team for five, six, seven years.

I think people forget that he is still a young player; he’s not long turned 22 and he is still making his way in the game – and perhaps he needs to remember that himself.

Next time he’s faced with that sort of situation, he will have to deal with it differently, and I reckon he will. It’s part of the learning process of being a defender.

There are parts to his game that he needs to work on but you could say that about all young players.

I certainly wouldn’t be considering dropping him for Saturday. He’s made a mistake and while the team has been punished, I don’t think anything would be gained by benching him at the weekend.

It’s obviously a decision for the manager but in terms of his performances over the last three or four weeks he’s been fine and I don’t see him losing his place.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.