Why Jamie Gullan deserves Hibs first-team chance after B team exploits
There will be plenty of sideshows when Hibs take on Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday.
Many will, of course, centre on the Dons’ current form and the pressure on manager Stephen Glass. But there will also be an expectation that Hibs will bounce back from their dismal defeat by Dundee United last weekend.
To do that they need goals, and they need something different in the final third. They might just have the answer to both those quandaries in the shape of Jamie Gullan.
The attacker has been limited to just 16 minutes of first-team football so far this term but took less than that to open the scoring against Huddersfield Town’s B team in a friendly match on Tuesday, eventually finishing with a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory.
Despite most of his stand-out performances coming in a wide left role for the Easter Road side’s development team prior to his regular involvement with the first team, he has fulfilled a number of positions while on loan at Raith Rovers and with Hibs not exactly overrun with options in the final third, might it be time to give him a chance beyond a couple of minutes at the end of a game?
The Dons are winless in ten and on a five-game losing streak. It sounds like an ideal time to give the 22-year-old more game time.
He will be on a high after scoring a treble against Huddersfield, keen to make an impact, and facing a defence that may well be nervous at the prospect of another defeat with an under-fire manager on the touchline and pressure on all the players to arrest their poor run of form.
Of course, football often doesn’t pan out in the way we expect: Aberdeen could well be fired up and keen to bounce back from their own defeat at the hands of a Tayside club.
But there are several players in green and white who have a point to prove, Gullan included, especially after last week’s result.
Ross and the coaching staff see the forward in training every week and are far better placed to make a call on his suitability for first-team action but there appears nothing to lose by giving him a chance.
Would he have offered more than Kevin Nisbet against Dundee United? Might he have been a useful wildcard option to bring on in a bid to bring energy to the Hibs frontline?
It is impossible to say, but Hibs were definitely lacking something in the final third at the weekend.
Until Christian Doidge returns to action and Chris Mueller arrives in January, Hibs only really have Martin Boyle, James Scott, Gullan, and Nisbet who can play up front.
It is hard to see how Ross can overlook Gullan’s exploits against the Terriers, especially after the toothless showing against Dundee United. Whether he can successfully operate in the favoured 4-2-3-1 formation remains to be seen.
But ‘Hammer’ will be high on confidence and certainly hasn't done his chances of featuring against Aberdeen any harm.
In a game where Hibs really need a win for a variety of reasons, Gullan might just turn out to be the X factor.