JAMES Keatings hopes he has convinced Neil Lennon he deserves to lead the Hibs attack after his scoring return at the weekend.
The former Hearts and Hamilton Accies striker started a match for the first time in six weeks on Sunday and caught the eye with a clinical strike in the 1-1 draw with Dundee United.
The 24-year-old was Lennon’s preferred choice for the opening four matches of the campaign but lost his place to Andrew Shinnie in a new role in behind the front two of Grant Holt and Jason Cummings.
Keatings, who worked under Lennon during his early days at Celtic, was back up front with Cummings against United and, unlike his strike partner, lasted the full 90 minutes in an encouraging display.
And the former Scotland under-19 cap is optimistic he has done enough to stay in the starting XI for Saturday’s IRN-BRU Cup clash with St Mirren.
He said: “I started off the season well and I thought I played well in the first three (league) games but then found myself sitting on the bench.
“But that’s football. I’ve been patient, I’ve worked hard and played in a few under-20s games and I got my chance on Sunday.
“My main focus was just to go out there and work hard for the team and I managed to do that.
“I managed to get a goal as well, which was a bonus.
“And hopefully I can keep doing what the manager’s asking of me and find myself in the starting XI.”
Hibs have stuttered badly in recent weeks, failing to win any of their last three league games and scoring just two goals against Ayr United, Queen of the South and Dundee United.
But Keatings insists the Scottish Cup winners are determined to revitalise their fortunes in the lower-league cup this weekend.
He added on Hibs TV: “We want to win every game, we go into every game wanting to win, and we want to progress.
“It’s another competition and we want to go as far as we can.”