BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Determined Sam Stanton is desperate to do Hibs a favour at Ibrox this afternoon as he attempts to kick-start his own career with Livingston.
The 21-year-old has joined Livi on loan for the rest of the season after failing to cement a place in Alan Stubbs’ side amid a plethora of midfield options at Easter Road.
He made his Lions debut in last week’s 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat against Morton and, after shaking off some rustiness, is ready to lap up regular first-team football.
And while Stanton’s number one priority is to thrive in West Lothian, he is acutely aware that he could aid his parent club’s title charge by inspiring a stunning win over Rangers.
Stanton told Capital City Press: “The Hibs team has been doing so well that it is hard to complain about not being in the team. It’s been difficult to get an opportunity.
“It’s been a really frustrating season so far – it’s never nice to not be playing. That’s why I have come here.
“This is a really important loan spell for myself, I want to do well for the club, play regularly and show what I can do.
“It was brilliant to be starting a game last Saturday and I’m looking forward to a few more. It took me a bit of time to get in the swing of things because I’ve been out for so long, but it was really enjoyable – aside from the result.
“This weekend is a great chance to hopefully do well again, with the added bonus of doing Hibs a favour. That would be a nice double. I’ve not had texts from any of the boys at Hibs telling me to make sure I get a result yet – but they might come before kick-off!”
Despite being farmed out to West Lothian for the rest of the season – Falkirk were also interested in his services – Stanton sees his long-term future at Hibs.
He was handed a four-year deal by former boss Terry Butcher after emerging as one of few silver linings during the club’s dismal descent to relegation in 2014.
Contracted to the club until the summer of 2018, Stanton is adamant he can establish himself as a Hibee mainstay in years to come.
He continued: “I spoke to Alan Stubbs and we decided this was the best step for me. I want to play and he wants me to get regular football – the logical thing was to go out on loan.
“I still have two-and-a-half years and, if I can do well here, then the aim is to go back and do well for Hibs again.”
Ibrox is a fitting venue for the diminutive schemer to re-emphasise his undoubted potential.
Stanton made his first ever appearance for Hibs in Govan January 2012 as a late substitute as Pat Fenlon’s men succumbed to a 4-0 defeat, before going on to make 70 appearances for the Easter Road outfit.
And even as Livingston 30/1 underdogs for the contest, Stanton believes they can pull off an almighty shock.
He recalled: “I’ve played there four times and it is where I made my Hibs debut, something that I’ll never forget.
“It is somewhere is really enjoy going and performing. It’s a great stage to play on and a great venue. These are the games everyone looks forward to.
“It will be a different experience from when you go there with Hibs and the expectation is that you will go there and win the game. There is no pressure on us this weekend. That is a good position for us to be in.
“Regardless of who you play against, you can get a result. That’s why you play football – and the boys here firmly believe we can get something against Rangers.”