BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HIBS head coach Neil Lennon insists Oli Shaw has given him a selection headache ahead of the Edinburgh derby after the teenager hit the decisive goal in their 2-1 triumph over Ross County.
The 19-year-old was handed a place in the starting line-up ahead of Simon Murray and lavishly rewarded Lennon’s faith by producing an instinctive late winner following some fine work by Brandon Barker.
It was a heartbreaking finale for County, who saw an early lead given to them by Craig Curran cancelled out by Anthony Stokes, and will spend Christmas Day at the foot of the Premiership.
Hibs, by contrast, will now go into Wednesday’s Edinburgh derby in fine fettle and boasting a five-point lead over Hearts – and Lennon is weighing up whether to unleash Shaw on the Jambos following his third senior strike.
“We made the call to go with Oli late,” revealed Lennon. “He scored twice for the Development Squad in the week and we just think he is ready. He needs more games and that will have done him the world of good. His all-round game was very good; his touch, leading the line and movement.
“We are hoping he will get better and stronger as he goes along, but I’m really pleased with what he is bringing to the team. It’s given us some food for thought for the derby, but it was all about getting the result on Saturday.
“We have been crying out for someone to get across the near post at times and Oli is a natural at it, I thought he had a great game.”
Lennon added: “It was important to win after that run of games and it was important to keep the pressure on the teams around us. It is a tough league and we are finding our feet – playing well at times, at other times we finding it hard – but we are in a healthy position, which is pleasing.”