Hibs striker Jason Cummings insists the pain of being demoted to the bench has made him even more hungry for goals.
The 21-year-old made his first start in seven matches in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Dumbarton after being dropped by head coach Neil Lennon following a loss of form.
But Cummings insists he refused to wallow in self-pity and is determined to prove that he deserves a regular place in the side.
The former Scotland Under-21 marksman, who scored eight goals in seven matches at the start of the campaign, said: “I hadn’t scored and I wasn’t playing that well. He had the right to try someone else.
“It’s been a massive learning curve for me. It has made me more hungry. I know the demands that this gaffer expects.
“It took me by surprise a wee bit. It’s never really happened to me in my career so it was a wee bit different.
“But, if you look, it happens to every player, the top players as well. Ups and downs. I’ve not really got any complaints about it.”
Cummings, who signed a new four-year deal in the summer after being the subject of a failed £1.7 million bid from Peterborough, added: “I never sulked about. I just tried to work harder and get myself back in.
“You’d be lying if you said it didn’t hurt you. You feel that you are missing out.
“You’re coming in every weekend and you’re not playing or you’re playing ten minutes and you just don’t really feel part of it.
“I took that for granted when I was playing week-in, week-out for the last few years. If anything, it has given me more hunger to stay in the team.
“That’s football isn’t it? Riding high in April, shut down in May. Frank Sinatra innit?
“It feels a bit harder for me because the players that came in took their chances, like Boyler (Martin Boyle) and the strikers.
“They came in and played well, so I couldn’t really ask questions.”