Oscar MacIntyre wants more Hibs first-team games as left-back speaks on Onel Hernandez battle in Norwich City friendly
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Scotland is becoming well known for its left-backs, to the extent that there is a standing joke about the sheer number of talented left-sided defenders either on the scene or breaking through.
It’s no different at Hibs. Sunday’s pre-season friendly against Norwich City was an opportunity for yet another Easter Road left-back in Oscar MacIntyre to get 45 minutes of gametime and show a near 10,000 crowd what he can do.
MacIntyre was a near ever-present for the title-winning under-18s last season, operating as a left-back but mostly as a left-wingback. His performance against the Canaries and especially Cuban internationalist Onel Hernandez won plaudits from his manager.
“I thought Oscar was outstanding. I’ve seen Hernandez terrorise Championship full-backs and wingbacks, so I think Oscar can go home and be extremely pleased with his performance,” Lee Johnson said afterwards.
“There were five or six younger players in the second half and they all showed up really well and as a club, it shows that we’re pushing in the right direction.”
MacIntyre and younger brother Jacob are highly rated by club chiefs and it would be little surprise to see the pair tied down on longer-term deals in the near future. For now though, the elder MacIntyre is fully focused on being with the first team as much as possible, having developed a taste for senior action.
"This season I want to be with the first team as much as possible and take my opportunity when it comes,” he told the Evening News after his latest outing with the first team.
"I’ll be playing with the development squad this season and hopefully, if I play well, I’ll get more of these opportunities.”
His game is progressing exponentially with the effort he puts in and the advice from development squad player/coach Darren McGregor. The veteran defender spoke in glowing terms about MacIntyre, who he views more as a team-mate than a youngster, and the feeling is certainly mutual.
"Daz has been a great leader in terms of helping out with his experience and I feel he’s really pushing me on,” MacIntyre said.
"The manager told me to go out and express myself [against Norwich] and just to do everything that I’d been doing well for the development squad.
"It was quite hard coming up against a proven Premier League player [in Hernandez] but I thought I handled myself well. There were a few times he got past me but I recovered.”
It could be a big season for MacIntyre – as well as development squad games and pushing for first-team involvement, he is braced for European action in the UEFA Youth League following the under-18s’ title win last term, and looking forward to it.
“It will be something different and a good test against a lot of top clubs,” he added.
If his performance against Norwich is anything to go by, he will relish the chance to showcase his talents – and further strengthen his claim for regular first-team outings.
Depending on injuries and work permits, those outings may come sooner rather than later.