Teenage striker Oli Shaw aiming to boost Hibs’ net gains

Hibs striker Oli Shaw. Picture: SNS
Hibs striker Oli Shaw. Picture: SNS
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Oli Shaw is not shying away from the fact that there is a spotlight on Hibernian strikers at the moment.

His manager Neil Lennon has been vocal in bemoaning the poor conversion rate as a bluntness at the business end of his team which means they are struggling to turn possession and decent openings into goals.

“Being a striker, there is a lot of pressure because you’ve got to score the goals,” said Shaw. “If you’re not scoring goals, you’ve got to lead the line well and create chances for other people.

“There’s been a bit of scrutiny, with people saying we’ve not scored enough goals. It just seems to be getting that first goal that seems to be the problem for us. We could do with a bit of luck in front of goal as well to get us going again.”

Shaw certainly has reason to curse his misfortune. The 19-year-old has impressed with crucial goals, staging a fightback to salvage a point against Celtic and Kilmarnock and netting the winner against Ross County, he has been hailed by his boss as a positive force.

But his goals tally would have been better if Celtic’s Mikael Lustig had not denied him with a goalline clearance and match officials had not missed the fact that his effort against Hearts in the festive derby had crossed the line.

Denied such high-profile goals may have shaken some youngsters but the level-headed Hibernian starlet sees no value in dwelling on what ifs and might have beens, saying he still has a long career ahead of him to make the desired impact.

“I think it’s easier to shake it off when you’re younger because you just focus on the next game,” said Shaw, 
pictured. “After the Hearts game, my pals were saying ‘you could have been the hero’ and all that kind of thing but I moved on from it straight away because I had a game a few days after that to focus on. It’s easier for me just to forget about any disappointments and move on to the next game to try and put it right.

“At the start of the season I thought I’d be mostly in the development squad and if I worked hard I’d have a good chance to get on the bench a few times and try and come on and score a couple of goals. Obviously the gaffer has trusted me and played me in the big games, and I’m grateful for that. You can only learn from playing against the best so I’ve learnt a lot from playing in these high-calibre games. I’ve probably played more than I expected but I’m a footballer for that and that’s what I want to do.

“I’m really enjoying it. The boys have been great with me. I’ve trained with them from the beginning of the season so I know them all now and I feel like I’m part of it. Going away to Portugal and things like that helps make you feel part of it.

“Hibs always give young boys an opportunity and I’m grateful to the manager for giving me mine. I just want to move forward and take it. Hopefully the manager continues to trust me.”

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson, meanwhile, has been forced to switch his phone off to ensure he loses no more of his squad before tonight’s transfer deadline.

The Fir Park boss saw top scorer Louis Moult join Preston at the start of January and was sent into another panic on Monday when Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers called to enquire about goalkeeper Trevor Carson. Robinson now says he is going to take no chances as he turns his focus to tonight’s clash with Hibs at Easter Road.

“It’s a strange day to put games on isn’t it?” said the Well boss. “But my phone has been off since about half ten this morning – no-one will be getting hold of me, so nobody will be going. The only incoming calls will be for me to sign players. We’re hoping to have one, maybe two more in before the end of the window.”