Hibs starlet discusses Hearts rejection and Aaron Hickey

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Had Hearts shown more faith in Josh Doig, it is likely he would have been regarded as a natural replacement for his friend, the much vaunted Aaron Hickey, who has  – among others – Bayern Munich coveting his signature.

Instead, city rivals Hibernian are now reaping the benefits of handing Doig a second chance.

Thrown onto football’s proverbial football scrap heap last summer when he was cast aside by Hearts, Doig, who was just about to turn 17, was naturally left demoralised by his first major set-back.

Hibs youngster Josh Doig | Hibs news
Josh Doig has started the season impressively in place of Lewis Stevenson (Pic: Hibs TV)

Fast forward a year, a period that has included a fleeting loan stint at Queens Park, and the teenager is now quite literally pinching himself about how his career is progressing, Doig having usurped club stalwart Lewis Stevenson at full back.

“After being at Hearts for so long I was a bit down for the first week,” said Doig as he recalled his departure from his previous employers, a club he supported in childhood and had been at since the age of seven.

“My mum and dad were brilliant with me, my head went a little bit but I picked myself back up and worked hard.

“I have to appreciate what Hearts did for me. People have their opinions of me and I respect that.

“In the end it came to contract time and I didn’t get offered one. But it’s worked out best f me.

“I have no complaints there. John Rankin was the coach at the time and he said he could keep me on part-time.

“But he had a belief in me and said I could go and get full-time somewhere else.

“I’m grateful for that. I was at a few other clubs and as soon as Hibs knocked on my door, they’re so close to my house. You can’t say no to Hibs.

“I felt like people believed in me and I felt that kicked me on from there.”

Even at 18-year of age and speaking to the media for the first time, Doig exhibited the unflustered and calm attitude that has served him well in starting Hibs’ first four opening games of the Premiership campaign.

He also spoke warmly of Hickey, despite the pals now on opposite sides of Edinburgh’s fierce footballing divide.

“I’m the same age as Hickey and pally with him too,” said Doig, who is set to start in today’s clash at St Johnstone. 

“He is a season ahead of me and I thought he did brilliant last year.

“I have watched him a few times, in the derbies especially. You need to be composed on the ball and he’s got that.

“I grew up with him at Hearts from a young age. I got on really well it’s Hickey, he was always a good guy.

“We are in touch to this day. He always congratulates me and vice versa.”

But does he think Hickey’s presence at Hearts was part of the reason the club let him go?

“I don’t think so because I was playing centre-half at Hearts too and I think that’s more where they saw me,” he explained.

“I was kind of lanky at the time and not as mobile as I am now. So I wouldn’t say Hickey set me back at all.

“He was with the reserves at the time anyway.”

Doig is part of a rearguard that has only conceded two goals from the first four opening matches. 

Five of the seven goals scored by the Leith side have been shared between Kevin Nisbet and Christian Doidge, manager Jack Ross having benefitted from deploying the traditional two strikers up top.

In an age when it seems that strategy was becoming redundant, Ross offered an insight into thinking.

Ross said: “Because I knew we were in a position to maybe do it (play two outright strikers) this season, I was reading quite a lot about it and I read that there was more teams in the top flight in Spain played two strikers than in the English Premier League, which was really interesting.

“Whether that was a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2, which would go against the grain of what people think. 

“The only reason I found that out is that I researched it when I looked into us doing it. 

“There are aspects of football that are very cyclical, we get back to the same point eventually. 

“In some of the Champions League games that have been played over the last two weeks, teams have played with two strikers.” 

 
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