Young Hibees

Academy Sailing In The Right Direction

07 June 2022

The 2021/22 campaign was a thoroughly successful one for the Hibernian FC Academy, in particular, the U18s squad.

The wee Hibees won the CAS Elite U18 Youth League, winning 19, drawing six and losing only two matches of the 2021/22 league campaign.

The youngsters also reached the Scottish Youth Cup Semi-Finals and qualified for European football next season.

Above all, however, one of the main successes of the season was the fact that five members of the U18s squad made their First Team debut for the Club.

Josh O’Connor was the first of the five after he came off the bench against Aberdeen at Pittodrie back in March, 2022.

Murray Aiken, Robbie Hamilton, Oscar MacIntyre and Jacob Blaney followed suit two months later in our final cinch Premiership match of the season against St Johnstone.

U18’s Head Coach, Gareth Evans admits seeing the teenagers progress and make their first team debut was his highlight of the season.

“The biggest success of the season for us was seeing five of the U18 team make their debut this season for the First Team. For us, that success is on par with winning the league. Hopefully there are another few that can go on to make their debuts next season.

“Connor Young and Murray Johnson could’ve easily made their debuts too. That is the biggest success for us, it is not myself that has done that, they have been helped by numerous coaches throughout the academy over the years.

“It is important that we mention all the other Academy coaches who have put time and effort into coaching these players across the age groups. It has just culminated together now, winning the U18s league and being able to play in Europe.”

The ship is clearly sailing in the right direction and the signs of progression are mapped out for all to see.

Josh Campbell, Josh Doig, Kevin Dabrowski and Ryan Porteous all graduated from the Hibernian FC Academy and played a big part in the First Team this season.

Not to mention Hibernian stalwarts Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson who both came through the youth ranks at the Club and have surpassed over 1000 appearances in green and white between them.

Evans says the aim for these youngsters now is to follow in their footsteps.

“A lot of this U18 squad were born in 2004 so they will leave U18 football and take their next steps in football. Now they are out of age-group football, this is when they will become men.

“The Development Squad games structure will help the players for sure. Whether it’s through that Development Squad, through loan moves, or playing in the First Team, whichever way it is, they have to find the right pathway to get themselves playing regular First Team football.

“That is the next part of their journey and we are all here to help them.”

Internationally, there were Scotland call-ups for Murray Johnson to the U19 squad as well as Ethan Laidlaw who recently returned from representing Scotland at the UEFA U17 European Championship Finals in Israel.

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We are on track to raise £27,518.40 this year

70.56% Complete

882 tickets of our 1,250 ticket goal