Ryan Porteous took no prisoners as he dumped Holt on the floor

Ryan Porteous didn't stand on ceremony as he introduced himself to Neil Lennon's first team squad '“ he simply dumped veteran striker Grant Holt on the seat of his pants.

Thursday, 27th July 2017, 6:30 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:15 pm
Ryan Porteous celebrates scoring his second goal in the Betfred Cup victory over Arbroath

The 19-year-old has announced himself to the Hibs support, capping an impressive run of matches by scoring his first two goals for the Easter Road club as they crushed Arbroath 6-1.

But for John McGinn it was the youngster’s first day alongside the club’s “big boys” that will always stick in his mind.

The Scotland midfielder recalled: “I’ll never forget it, he came in and put big Grant Holt on his backside. That’s what you have to do when you come up to train with the first team.

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“You are not there to be a tourist or a spectator, you want to take a jersey. I think Ryan has the bit between his teeth right now and the other younger boys need to look at him for a bit of inspiration in the way he approaches training.

“Ryan respects the older boys but at the same time he thinks ‘I’m as good as you and I’m going to take your jersey’. All credit to him.

“He’s hard as nails, quick on the ball and as we saw the other night, he has an eye for goal.

“He might have had a couple of shaky moments but he is a Rolls Royce of a defender.”

The 6-1 hammering of Arbroath was, claimed McGinn, the most convincing result in his time at Easter Road, new striker Simon Murray claiming a hat-trick while he himself scored his first goal of the season.

And having done that, he revealed, he’s now set his sights on getting into double figures, saying: “It’s been well documented that’s something I need to add to my game. I think with the chances we create it’s something I am capable of and something I want to do.

“Since I’ve been at the club I don’t think we’ve had such a convincing result in cup games, we always seem to struggle against lower opposition. We could have scored a lot more goals in the first half but you can’t really grumble at 6-1.”

Watching the demolition of the League One side from the main stand were Lennon’s most recent recruits, Lithuanian internationalists Deivydas Matulevicius and Vykintas Slivka with the hope being Republic of Ireland striker Anthony Stokes will return for a third spell to join a squad previously strengthened by the signings of Murray, Danny Swanson, Efe Ambrose, Ofir Marciano and Steven Whittaker.

And the fact Darren McGregor and Dylan McGeouch were given the night off as Paul Hanlon continues to edge towards full fitness after the best part of seven months out does, insisted McGinn, merely underline the strength in depth to Lennon’s squad with the emergence of youngsters such as Porteous, Fraser Murray and Oli Shaw adding even further competition for places.

The former St Mirren player said: “When you are at a club like Hibs you expect competition for places and even the boys that have their place in the side have to look over their shoulder and know there’s a quality player behind them.

“The Lithuanian boys have come in and looked good. Vicky – that’s what we are calling him although I don’t know abut that nickname – has looked the part and big David as well. Hopefully we’ll get them cleared to play on Saturday.”

McGinn admitted he has his fingers crossed that Stokes can be persuaded to sign on again, adamant the man who scored two goals in that epic Scottish Cup triumph against Rangers would be welcomed like a long lost son by the Hibs support.

He said: “There’s been a bit of chat about it. I haven’t spoken to him, he changes his phone like the weather and I don’t have his number now.

“But he fitted in well last time he was here, he’s a top player as we saw in the cup final. It would be good to get him back and we’d welcome him back.”

Lennon has already told Stokes he believes Easter Road is the best place for him to breathe new life into his career and McGinn agrees life in Edinburgh seems to suit the 29-year-old.

He said: “Everybody knows Stokesy thrives under certain managers and other managers can’t take to him. But the gaffer here would know how to get the best out of him.

“He’s a good character, a good laugh so we’d welcome him into the dressing-room as we have a good bunch of boys in there.

“I’m not sure where it’s at but hopefully we can get it over the line.”

Stokes would represent yet another player with international experience to go along with that of Marciano, Ambrose, Whittaker, Matulevicius, Slivka and McGinn himself.

“That’s something I think the club are aiming for,” he said. “Players with a lot of experience, international players who give you that extra edge.

“We’re going to need to build an extra bit to the stadium because season tickets are running out. There’s going to be a great turn out for every game this season. It’s a special time to be at Hibs. We seem to have clicked and hopefully we can take that into the season and give people a real nose bleed.”