BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HIBS assistant coach Grant Murray has challenged Oli Shaw to emulate the rise of Jason Cummings – and save manager Neil Lennon a fortune in the transfer market.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation for the Hibees’ Development Squad this season, bagging 26 goals and cementing his place as Scotland first-choice striker at under-19 level.
He has combined those exploits with turning out in League 1 with Stenhousemuir and Murray insists Shaw could be a ready made addition to the senior side ahead of their return to the Premiership.
Former Raith Rovers boss Murray said: “Oli has probably been a bit unfortunate that he has been out on loan. He has been fantastic for the under 20s and has been in the Scotland under-19 set-up – it is unfortunate that he is on loan or he might have had more opportunity to play in the first team here.
“How good can Oli be? That’s completely up to him. He can score, he is very quick, reads the game well and makes good runs as a forward. I think, for a young, player, he is a good addition to the first-team for next year.
“Oli doesn’t need to look any further than what is at the club already for motivation. There’s Jason [Cummings], who continually scores goals, season after season, and Jason is still only 21 years old.
“If you are Oli Shaw, you are looking and saying ‘I want to be that’.
“He will look to go away and work hard in the summer so he can come back and make sure he is part of the manager’s plans for next season.”
The likes of Fraser Murray, Scott Martin, Sean Mackie, Callum Crane and Ryan Porteous are also considered hugely promising talents, a few of which could be included in the side to face St Mirren tomorrow as Hibs toast their Championship title win.
Murray, speaking from a training centre adorned with images of products such as Scott Brown, Derek Riordan and Steven Fletcher, is keen to see another golden generation emerge.
“I think every football club expects that,” continued Murray. “You want to put demands on pushing youngsters through.
“Walking around the corridors here, the guys get to see the photographs of all of the players who have played here and come through the system. For the youngsters, they can look at what these guys have gone on and achieved – Scott Brown, going on to captain Scotland, being the biggest example.”
Saturday’s trophy presentation will bring back poignant memories of Murray, who enjoyed his greatest managerial achievement to date in 2014 when he lifted the Ramsdens Cup at Easter Road after defeating Rangers in dramatic final.
And he has urged the players to lap up the celebrations – just like the Fifers did.
“That was a fantastic day for myself,” he recalled. You appreciate days like that. I’m sure the players will be no different this time.
“It’s been a tough three years but this season the manager has come in and done fantastic. He’s got the club back to where they belong.”