Hibernian head coach Jack Ross has cited the development of the club’s ‘golden generation’ – which included Scott Brown – in cautioning against Josh Doig leaving Easter Road before he is ready.
Precocious left-back Doig has recently been linked with a switch to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City, with Hibs owner Ron Gordon saying earlier this week that he was ‘excited’ by that speculation, and that such moves should be ‘encouraged’.
Doig, who reportedly also has Manchester City and Arsenal as admirers, has played 28 times for Hibs in a stunning breakthrough campaign, having featured seven times on loan at Queen’s Park last season.
Ross believes it is vital for the 18-year-old’s development to at least clock up close to a century of outings, just like Brown did before moving to Celtic in 2007.
“I think the benefit of playing first team games is something that is maybe still underestimated up here a little bit,” said Ross, whose side travel to Rangers tomorrow with aspirations of strengthening their grip of third place in the Premiership.
“Josh has already had for an 18-year-old a lot of first team experience.
“But if you look at Hibs, what was dubbed the golden generation with Scott, Whitts (Steven Whittaker), Steven Fletcher, Derek Riordan and all these guys, if you look back at the number of games they played for Hibs before they moved they were all significant numbers.
“I don’t think off the top of my head they only played 20, 30, 40 games, they were pushing a 100 or over 100 so it’s a fair point to make that the benefit of playing those number of games is big and stands them in good stead.
“It’s just tempering that, I’m not saying it’s impatience, but sometimes they feel like they need to go in case that opportunity does not come again.”
Doig, whose maturity on and off the pitch belies his tender years, is naturally buoyed by Leicester’s reported interest, and grateful for the compliments from club chairman Gordon.
“It’s madness,” the teenager remarked.
“It doesn’t seem like so long ago I was trying to get a game at Queens.
“When you hear these massive clubs are showing an interest it is a bit overwhelming.
“I just have to take it in my stride and not get too overconfident about it.
“I need to try to keep the head.
“I listened to the part the chairman was speaking about me and it’s brilliant to heat the chairman saying nice things about me.
“He trusts me and my ability so that’s a big confidence boost.
“He said he was excited about the Leicester talk but he knows I’m still young and still developing. I’ll take it as it comes, as long as I’m still playing football.
“That’s the most important thing for me, to help me physically and improve my game.
“The main focus is to keep developing as I’m still learning every day in training. I want to play as many games as possible.”
Ross, meanwhile, shares Celtic interim manager John Kennedy’s concerns over the Scottish FA disciplinary procedures.
Kennedy questioned the length of time it has taken for the five Rangers players’ appeals to be heard.
Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey, Bongani Zungu, Dapo Mebude and Brian Kinnear were hit with six-game bans after being caught breaking Covid-19 rules by attending a house party over two months ago.
Ross added: “Without putting myself in the middle of sparring between those two clubs, I do think there is an alarming lack of consistency over how disciplinary procedures are carried out.
“I can’t quite get my head around it.
“Somebody needs to explain to me how some are done much more quickly than others, some take an awful lot longer, if appeals are heard how long they take to put a date to be heard.”