BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Jason Cummings insists the whirlwind of speculation that has followed him this season only spurs him on to play even better for Hibernian.
The Scotland under-21 striker has been linked with interest from a host of clubs south of the border as he has shot his way to 14 goals in 20 appearances at club level this term.
After scoring 22 times for the Easter Road outfit last season – his first full campaign as a first-team player – scouts from Bournemouth, Brighton, Fulham, Cardiff City, Rotherham and Leeds United have been keeping tabs on the 20-year-old.
However, the former Hearts trainee, who was plucked by Hibs from part-time football and his job as a gardener just over two years ago, is adamant he will stay grounded, despite the rumours helping to bolster his already-burgeoning belief.
The youngster, who is under contract at Hibs until 2017, said: “It’s a massive compliment for me. If anything it just makes me more confident and makes me play better.
“It’s just a massive compliment.
“I do (keep my feet on the ground) and I’ve got a lot of good people around me that help me do that. There’s no problem there.
“I’ve been playing alright. I’m obviously enjoying myself at the moment, I’m scoring quite a lot of goals.
“And, with a good set of boys and a good manager, I’m loving my football at the moment.”
Cummings has been in bullish mood recently over the prospects of Hibs challenging for the Championship title this season.
The capital outfit pulled level with Rangers on points 10 days ago, but will be expected to fall three points behind again when the Ibrox outfit host Dumbarton in their game in hand this evening.
However, Cummings believes Hibs’ form bodes well for a thrilling climax to the league campaign in April.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he added: “At one point, Rangers were flying away and everyone thought Hibs were kind of out of it a wee bit.
“But it just proves what a good squad we are. We’ve pulled it back to level at this point and it’s going to be an exciting end to the season now.
“It’s still early, we’ve got a lot of points to play for and we’ve still to play them a few times, so there’s still a long way to go.”
Meanwhile, Hibs youngster Lewis Allan is recovering after having a cyst removed from his spine.
The 19-year-old, who was loaned to Forfar Athletic after appearing in the Petrofac Training Cup defeat to Rangers on the opening day of the season, had surgery in Edinburgh last month to remove the growth.
Allan, who was also farmed out to Dunfermline last term, is not expected to return to training until the end of February.
A Hibs spokesperson said: “Hibernian look forward to Lewis returning to the squad and will be aiding him throughout the recovery process.”