HIBS legend Pat Stanton believes his young namesake Sam has the swagger required to make a name for himself at Easter Road.
The name Stanton is etched into Hibs folklore as a result of Pat establishing himself as one of their greatest and most-feted players during a 13-year period at the club in the 1960s and 70s.
Now there is a new kid on the block, bearing the same surname but who is no relation to Pat. The 69-year-old likes what he’s seen so far from Sam, a nimble 19-year-old midfielder.
“I have been impressed with Sam any time I’ve seen him,” Pat told the Evening News. “He looks confident and that’s a big part of being a good player. I always enjoy seeing a young player have the confidence to go and make things happen rather than standing there watching it. If a player is confident and is quite sure of themselves, it can intimidate the opposition. The Hibs fans appreciate players who have the confidence to make things happen and Sam certainly looks like he’s that type of player.”
Stanton senior doesn’t expect the teenager to be burdened by any additional pressure as a result of his name. “When the name first appeared on the scene, I wondered who he was and where he came from,” he said. “I get asked all the time if he’s any relation to me and I’m sure he’s fed up getting asked as well. Having the same name as me shouldn’t be a handicap to him.
“He’s his own man and is a different type of player to what I was. I played a while ago, so people should just forget about me and let him get on with making a name for himself. I met him recently for the first time at Easter Road and said we meet at last”. He’s a nice kid and it’s all down to him how far he goes.”
Pat believes the fact manager Terry Butcher has taken an immediate shine to Sam will do wonders for his morale after a tough 2013, in which his hopes of establishing himself in the first team were tarnished by injury. “He’s come into the team at a difficult time for the club when there’s been a lot of coming and going and results haven’t been too clever, but with the new manager coming in, the wheel looks like it’s starting to turn for Sam.
“For a man like Terry Butcher to show confidence in him will be a real boost. It’s great for a player’s confidence when the manager shows a bit of confidence in you. It really is a big help.”