Ryan Shanley wants Hibs debut to be first of many highlights in green and white

Striker made his first-team bow in 3-0 win at St Mirren
Ryan Shanley is keen to kick on after making his first-team debut for HibsRyan Shanley is keen to kick on after making his first-team debut for Hibs
Ryan Shanley is keen to kick on after making his first-team debut for Hibs

Hibs striker Ryan Shanley is adamant his first-team debut will be one of many high points in his Easter Road career.

The 19-year-old replaced Martin Boyle for the final few minutes of the Capital club’s 3-0 win against St Mirren in Paisley as he made his senior bow less than a year since playing for Lowland League side Civil Service Strollers during a loan spell in Scottish football’s fifth tier.

Now the forward is looking to kick on after getting his Scottish Premiership chance.

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In an interview published in the Hibs’ matchday programme ahead of the Rangers game, Shanley said: “I’ve been a Hibs supporter all my days but I only joined the club at Under-15 level, which maybe makes me a bit of a late developer. Previously I’d played for Hutchison Vale and Craigroyston.

"Not everyone gets the chance to play regularly with their friends so I enjoyed that but it's something else to be playing for the team you grew up supporting. I know how fortunate I am.”

The teenager also spent time on loan at Forfar Athletic in the second part of last term until the coronavirus pandemic brought a premature end to the season, and part of him expected to be heading out to a lower-league side again this year.

Shanley explained: “There was talk that I’d be going out on loan but then I joined up with the first-team squad for training and it all went from there. I felt like I’d done well and was hopeful of at least being part of the matchday squad – even as the unstripped player for the experience.

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"I only found out I’d made the bench on the morning of the game when the gaffer put up a PowerPoint around how the team was going to set up.

"I was sitting there trying to keep my composure but it was a great feeling and a moment that will live with me forever.”

Speaking after the match, head coach Jack Ross praised Shanley for his performance and efforts in training that had earned him his chance.

Shanley continued: “The message was nice and simple, which probably helped – the gaffer told me to just go and enjoy it. I was lucky enough to get a few touches and I feel very privileged to have got the chance to do that for the club I grew up supporting.”

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The boyhood Hibs fan was brought up in the city’s Muirhouse area and already had ties to the club through cousin Derek Riordan.

Shanley recalled: “I used to be so shy around him – a bit starstruck. He was a footballer in my eyes, rather than my cousin.

"I’m a bit young to have seen him play in his prime but I’ve watched a fair bit back. You have to respect what he achieved. He’s a Hibs fan who lived the dream.”

Despite making his first-team bow, Shanley isn’t taking anything for granted. He said: “Whether I go out on loan or stay involved with the squad, I know I’ve made progress.

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“But, as proud as I am to have made my debut, I want to make sure that’s a highlight, not the highlight. Hopefully it’s the first of many."

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