JAMIE GULLAN reckons firing Raith Rovers back to the Championship can be his gateway to the Hibernian first-team as he seeks to emulate fellow academy front-man Oli Shaw.
The 19-year-old, who joined the Fifers on loan in March, was the match-winner at Stark’s Park on Tuesday evening as he arrowed a superb low drive beyond Marc McCallum to secure a 2-1 win over Forfar Athletic in the first leg of their playoff semi-final.
It was his first ever goal in senior football and he confessed that it ‘felt like a weight off my shoulders’ after 10 games without finding the net.
Raith will travel north on Saturday hoping to finish the job at Station Park and tee up a showdown with either Queen of the South or Montrose for a place in next season’s Championship – and Gullan knows Paul Heckingbottom’s spies will be in attendance.
“I’m desperate to do well for Raith Rovers and help to get this club back to the Championship and, in doing that, hopefully, I’ll catch the eye of the coaches at Hibs,” said Gullan.
“There’s a Hibs scout at every game who reports back. They will let me know what I’m doing well and what I need to improve on. It’s really positive to know they are keeping tabs on me.
“I’ve not had a lot of time working under the new gaffer [Paul Heckingbottom], having gone out on loan, but the opportunity is there to impress him and I’ll go back in pre-season and hopefully he likes what he sees.”
Gullan has already made two substitute appearances for Hibs and was handed a contract extension last November which ties him to the club until the summer of 2022, underlining how highly-rated the teenage attacker is at Easter Road.
And there is no shortage of inspiration as he seeks to make the breakthrough, including Shaw, 20, who has already made more than 50 appearances for Hibs.
“I’ve trained with boys like Sean Mackie, Fraser Murray, Oli Shaw,” he added. “You see them make the step up. That gives me confidence that the chances are there at Hibs. It’s all about working hard and putting in the graft needed to reach the first team.”