Hibs midfielder Andrew Shinnie reckons going up against no-nonsense defenders in the Scottish Championship can prepare Jason Cummings for a successful career south of the border.
On loan Birmingham City playmaker Shinnie insists the 21-year-old has a ‘great’ future ahead of him after watching the free-scoring marksman notch his 18th of the season in the weekend’s hard-fought 2-2 stalemate with Dunfermline.
After netting one and setting up another in last Wednesday’s memorable Scottish Cup victory over city rivals Hearts, Hibs head coach Neil Lennon claimed £1.8 million – the bid the Leith outfit rejected from Peterborough last summer, would not buy his right leg.
He said: “For players like Jason it can be difficult because he goes up against no-nonsense defenders.
“But he will always come up with goals and against Hearts he was unbelievable.
“It is difficult going down to England and it’s different in terms of being more physical.
“But he’s used to that when he comes up against big defenders every week and I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem with that.
“I’m sure there would have been a lot of scouts at the Hearts game watching Jason and he didn’t disappoint.
“As the gaffer said, £1.8 million – the market nowadays and the way people are going, that wouldn’t buy his right leg, which isn’t very good!
“He’ll have a great career but he loves it here, he loves the fans and they love him. He’s got something good going on here so it will take a good offer to tempt him down.
“He wants to get Hibs promoted and win another cup, whatever happens after that, I’m sure he’ll go far.”
Cummings’ goal scoring exploits have helped Hibs open up a seven point lead over Dundee United at the Championship summit but Lennon is facing a defensive crisis ahead of Wednesday’s trip to St Mirren.
Liam Fontaine hobbled off against the Pars at the weekend with an ankle knock, while fellow central defenders Jordon Forster and Paul Hanlon, who underwent a pelvic operation, are still working their way back to match fitness.
Marvin Bartley briefly filled in on Saturday before youngster Calum Crane stepped off the bench to make his league debut alongside Darren McGregor at the back.
Lennon added: “I need to get some bodies back, Hanlon and Forster. Liam had a rib injury after the game on Wednesday then he opened up his ankle and couldn’t continue.
“We’re down to the bare bones at the minute and I’m not sure if they’ll be back for Wednesday.
“Paul had the surgery, which went okay, but he had a set-back with a nerve problem. I don’t think he’s a million miles away but this has been a little set-back. It’s a totally separate issue from the surgery.”