BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
At one point, as an opponent, John McGinn was not even sure if Jason Cummings was good enough for Hibernian. Now, the midfielder is convinced his team-mate has what it takes to ‘go a long way’ in the game.
Cummings’ confident and sublimely casual chip to open the scoring was one of the bright spots in Monday’s 4-2 defeat to Rangers, a result that heaps pressure on Hibs for today’s home encounter with Raith Rovers.
The goal took the 20-year-old’s tally for the season to 15 in 23 appearances and will have impressed the representatives of a host of English clubs who were present at Ibrox to watch the youngster.
Wolves, Burnley, Rotherham United, Brighton and Fulham are amongst the clubs eyeing a January move for the Scotland under-21 cap.
However, McGinn is hopeful his club and international team-mate will stay with Hibs for at least the remainder of the season after changing his mind on Cummings since moving from St Mirren in the summer.
“I don’t think we are planning on losing anyone,” said McGinn of the Cummings transfer talk. “(Jason) is on top form so speculation will come his way but he is used to it. The kind of character he is in the dressing room, it certainly won’t bother him but he is not a player we want to lose.
“Even when I played against him, when he first came into the side, I wasn’t really sure about him and if he was good enough for Hibs, but he has come on leaps and bounds.
“He is a joy to work with and he is good for me because he is always running and always giving defences a hard time, and he has matured an awful lot.
“He is still Jason off the pitch and you get what Jason gives you but, on the pitch, he takes the bumps off defenders, he holds it up and he can score brilliant goals and he will go a long way, I’m sure.
“Since I came here, he has really impressed me and shown me he has more than I thought he had. That is credit to him.
“He has listened to the people around him. He just soaks it all in and learns from them and, as you can see, he is just getting better and better as the season goes on.”
Cummings’ opener was unable to inspire Hibs to the victory over Rangers that would have taken them to the summit of the Championship table.
Instead, they find themselves in third and three points adrift of the league leaders going into today’s meeting with Raith, the first of a league and Scottish Cup double-header against the Kirkcaldy club.
Some may question the long-term effects of such a disappointing result, and performance, at Ibrox, but McGinn is convinced the Easter Road side will be able to shake it off quickly.
“If you put it into perspective,” added McGinn, “it is one defeat in 18 and we have to look at the positives and not dwell on the result too much.
“We are massively confident we can (go on an unbeaten run) again. We have immense character in the dressing room and we win as a team and lose as a team.
“We are all together and we know if we are together then we can put runs together like the one we have just come off.
“There will be twists and turns along the way and a lot of bumps and bruises and that was only a wee bump.”