Oli Shaw staked a claim for a place in Neil Lennon’s starting line-up for Saturday’s crunch Premiership clash with Aberdeen by scoring a hat-trick as Hibs opened up a three-point lead at the top of the SPFL Development League.
The 19-year-old striker had been forced to settle for a place on the bench as he watched the Capital side tighten their grip on fourth place in the Premiership table with victories over Motherwell and Rangers, with new forwards Florian Kamberi and Jamie Maclaren getting among the goals.
However, he fired a timely reminder to Lennon by scoring all three to guide the Easter Road club’s development side to a 3-1 victory over Partick Thistle at Oriam. Shaw was on hand to turn in Lewis Allan’s cross and scored his second before half-time as he drilled Danny Swanson’s pass beyond Thistle goalkeeper Ryan Scully, who was lucky not to concede a penalty immediately after the interval as he brought the striker down.
Neil McGlaughlin pulled one back for Partick as he weaved his way into Hibs penalty area before beating goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski.
Shaw, however, got his third from the spot after Swanson had been felled in the area, Faycal Rherras almost notching a fourth for Hibs only for Scully to pull off a brilliant save.
Shaw’s goals would have delighted Lennon ahead of Saturday’s visit from the Dons, eight points ahead of Hibs in second place in the Premiership table.
The Hibs head coach would also have been pleased to see Swanson, who elected to stay at Easter Road and fight for his place rather than go out on loan following an indifferent first half to the season, get 78 minutes of action before being replaced by Jamie Gullan.
Hibs: Dabrowski, Rherras, Waugh, Mackie, Crane, Campbell, I Murray (Woods 85), Stirling, Swanson (Gullan 78), L Allan. Shaw.