BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
OLI SHAW has confessed that being robbed of a dramatic derby winner against Hearts haunted his Hibs-daft pals much more than him.
The 19-year-old found himself at the centre of a ‘ghost goal’ controversy last week when his sixth minute strike at Tynecastle crossed the line, only for assistant referee Sean Carr to keep his flag planted by his side to indicate play on.
However, Shaw is an old head on young shoulders and shrugged off the heartache, turning in a fine display in the rest of the encounter before bouncing back to bag the leveller in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock.
The same cannot be said for gutted friends and family, with furious texts and seething screen-grabs soon flooding in.
“I have moved on from that already, but my family and friends – who are massive Hibs fans – haven’t,” smiled the Scotland under-19 marksman. “They can’t believe that I was not the derby hero and I was denied the winner.
“I’ve been getting messages and screenshots, but throughout that I just tried to focus on the Kilmarnock game.
“It was some week, with the winning goal against Ross County and then the derby goal which wasn’t given and then scoring against Killie which was good, albeit it is always disappointing not to get all three points.”
Now enjoying a well earned break before reporting back for Hibs’ winter training camp in the Algarve on Saturday, Shaw has every right to reflect fondly on a breakthrough 2017 and look ahead to 2018 with confidence.
Shaw has even surprised head coach Neil Lennon with his progress this term and, after four goals – two of those coming against Celtic – he has established himself as a viable senior attacking option with a penchant for the big occasion.
“The manager has shown good faith and trust in me and he has started me in the last three games and I have really enjoyed it,” continued Shaw. “I didn’t have any targets this season, I just wanted to knuckle down and play my game and hopefully be given the opportunity – thankfully it has come along.
“I have trained with the boys since the start of the season and I have worked my way in and I have had that first team football experience. Now that I am starting games, I feel comfortable and I am really enjoying it. I want more of it.
“As a striker you just want to score goals and I have done that and hopefully it can continue. Scoring against Celtic gave me a lot of confidence, then playing in the Edinburgh derby was the highlight so far. Everybody wants to play in that match.
“When we come back we have a big Scottish cup game [against Hearts] to focus on and hopefully the gaffer trusts me again to pitch me in for the derby again.”
With the transfer window opening on Monday, Lennon is actively seeking to bolster Hibs’ attacking options in the coming month. A bid to tempt Niall McGinn to Edinburgh proved futile, with the Northern Ireland international choosing to return to Aberdeen.
More competition for Shaw is, however, likely to arrive – and he will not shy away from the challenge.
“There is always speculation about people coming in as this is such a big club,” added Shaw. “I just want to focus on myself and hopefully the manager trusts me and picks me ahead of anybody else.”