Ryan Baptie isn’t short of inspiration as he battles to become the latest Hibs kid to force his way into Terry Butcher’s first-team plans.
In Tuesday’s Under-20 victory over Hearts, the highly-regarded 18-year-old left-back lined up alongside no less than three academy products who have already had decent first-team exposure in Alex Harris, Jason Cummings and Danny Handling. The boyhood Hibs fan aims to be the next one off James McDonaugh’s conveyor belt.
“It’s encouraging when you see so many of the Under-20s getting their chances in the first team,” said Baptie, a former Craigmount High pupil. “You can see when they come back into the 20s how much they’ve progressed since breaking into the first team. They all bring a bit extra experience into the 20s games now, so you learn off them.”
Corstorphine boy Baptie, who excelled in keeping Hearts wide player Callum Paterson relatively quiet on Tuesday, is desperate to make the jump from dyed-in-the-wool Hibby to fully-fledged first-team player and he’s happy to make whatever sacrifices it takes.
“I’ve been a Hibs fan all my life and was going to games with my dad since I was about five, when Kevin Thomson, Garry O’Connor and Derek Riordan were all there the first time,” he recalled. “It’s strange seeing Kevin about the place now. My dad’s very proud. He’d love to see me progress into the first team.
“I’ve made loads of sacrifices to give myself the best chance possible. I don’t go out drinking at weekends.
“I always watch what I eat and drink and try and look after my body. My contract’s up in the summer so it’s a big period for me to make sure I do enough to get kept on.”