It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Hibs kid Josh Campbell, a first goal in the pre-season friendly in Carlisle followed by his competitive debut as the club kicked off their Betfred Cup campaign against Stirling Albion.
But, he admitted that running out on to the turf at Easter Road for tomorrow’s match with Alloa Athletic would top it all for the life-long Hibs fan.
In true football parlance, Campbell described himself as “being over the moon” at how things have gone for him recently, particularly being singled out by Paul Heckingbottom for his performance - albeit in a disappointing draw - at Forthbank.
The Hibs head coach highlighted the midfielder’s competitive approach, one which he felt some of his team-mates lacked a little of on the day, Campbell saying: “That’s my game, running about, winning the ball back, starting attacks, stopping the other side attacking.
“I saw what the gaffer had to say about me and was really happy - but he also said that I have to take my chance and that’s what I am hoping to do.
“He actually asked in the dressing-room after the Stirling game if that was my debut and when I told him it was he shook my hand and said ‘you played very well’ in front of everyone.
“The rest of the boys shook my hand, there were high fives and slaps on the back, something I really appreciated coming from my team-mates and especially from the older players.”
It’s been those more experienced players who have helped not only Campbell but others as they take their first steps towards, hopefully, becoming first-team regulars but, he revealed, that tuition continued throughout the match in Stirling.
He said: “Steven Whittaker has been really helpful, telling me the areas I need to work on and those I’ve done well in. You look at the career he has enjoyed - it’s been pretty amazing and what you want to do yourself by following in his footsteps.
“At Stirling he was constantly in my ear, talking me through the game and helping me.”
Campbell spent the second half of last season on loan at League One Airdrieonians, playing 16 matches for the Diamonds bossed by former Hibs star Ian Murray, the third of which was a Scottish Cup match away to Celtic, experiences he believes have helped push him into the position he’s now in career-wise.
He said: “Going to Airdrie where I played in various positions was a massive help coming back to Hibs.
“Ian Murray was someone I used to go and watch play with me being a Hibs fan and like Whitty he gave me plenty of tips on what and what not to do.”
And, unwittingly, another former Hibs star played his part that day at Celtic Park, Hoops skipper Scott Brown.
Campbell said: “I was a bit nervous walking down the tunnel with all the racket those 50,000 plus fans were making but once the game started you were just concentrating on playing.
“I learned a lot that day from Scott Brown, just being close to him and how he works. Even when I came off I just sat watching him, the way he controls the game, the manner in which he went about things on the pitch, something I’d like to be able to do myself.”
Campbell admitted having to settle for a draw against League Two Stirling - although Hibs did take the bonus point the penalty shoot-out offered – had been disappointing, but he believes Heckingbottom’s players have learned their lesson.
He said: “We should have had the game finished by half-time. We didn’t so we have to move on and tomorrow if we get into the same position we have to look to finish Alloa off. I’m looking forward to playing in front of so many Hibs fans and we want to give them something to shout about.”