Who needs an agent when you’ve got your mum? When Scott Martin found himself looking for a club it was his mother, Angela, who took matters into her own hands, firing out an email in the hope someone, somewhere would bite.
That was eight years ago but today Martin has his mum to thank as he begins to break into the Hibs first team, the midfielder catching the eye as Alan Stubbs’ squad wrapped up their pre-season training camp in La Manga with a game against Wigan Athletic and then playing another full 90 minutes in Berwick a few days later.
“I was ten and had been at Celtic for a couple of years, just training,” Martin said. “But then they told me they weren’t going to sign me. I had trials with Dundee United and Aberdeen but it didn’t work out and then my mum sent an email to a few clubs including Hibs who said they wanted to give me a trial. That’s where it all started.
“I’ve progressed from the Under-11s through to the Under-20s and now I’m starting to get involved with the first team. I just love playing football.”
Martin has already achieved one target, making his debut before his 18th birthday, a few minutes against Falkirk in December followed by two more appearances, both from the bench, but now he is hoping he can force his way into head coach Stubbs’ plans, having been part of the squad which has twice travelled to the south of Spain in recent weeks.
He said: “I couldn’t ask for anything better than to get the full 90 minutes against Wigan and Berwick, I think I was the only player to do that.
“I’ve achieved my first goal in making my debut at 17 but I have plenty more. It’s all about gaining experience and hopefully I’ll get a first start in a competitive match. I’d be nervous, I know that for a fact, but it’ll just be a case of calming down and try to treat it just like any other game.
“My mum goes to every game and my dad, who works away as a joiner in Shetland, comes as often as he can. My mum is my biggest supporter so I’m sure she’d probably have a wee cry if she saw me running out to start a match. Hopefully after that I’d go on to make a few appearances.”
However, Martin and the three other teenagers who have been part of Stubbs’ squad throughout pre-season and have also featured in the two friendly matches so far – Lewis Allan, Aaron Dunsmore and Callum Crane – have all been warned by their boss that the standards expected will be exacting.
He said: “The manager has told us we will get our chance, but that’s all he can do, give us that opportunity, We’ve been training and been in and about the first team so now it’s all down to us, it’s in our hands. The manager has stressed to us that if we come on, as a sub or start a game, then we have to make sure that we don’t let the occasion get to us.”
Martin hasn’t looked at all out of place so far and his all-action style has already had some supporters making comparisons with a young Scott Brown, something the 18-year-old knows will cause him no end of grief when his team-mates pick up on it.
He said: “I hadn’t heard that but I am sure the boys will make the most of it. But it’s a great compliment to be compared to Scott Brown, the Celitc and Scotland captain. He’s a great player, a phenomenal player, someone I’ve looked up to.”
Martin, however, has is own role models at Easter Road, admitting he’s learning quickly by training and playing alongside Scott Allan, the Championship’s player of the year, and Fraser Fyvie.
He said: “I drive in with Scott and Fraser every morning and they are always giving me advice on how to do this and that, how to catch the eye, they’ve helped me a lot on and off the pitch.
“But everyone at the cub has been terrific to me and the other young lads.”
Asked what he believes is his greatest strength, Martin replied: “I think that’s getting in and about people, winning the ball and giving it to someone that can do something with it. Maybe it isn’t the best thing to say, but I do the dirty side of the game pretty well. Fraser can do it too, but he can also ping a ball 50 yards.
“Scotty is just Scotty, some of the passes he plays are just unbelievable, like the one for David Gray’s goal against Berwick the other night. I don’t think I’d have seen that one. But I’ll just try to play to my strengths: putting a team together is a bit like a jigsaw, all the pieces need to fit together and hopefully what I do can complement what the likes of Fraser and Scott do.
“If you had 11 player