Christian Doidge was a foot soldier four years ago when Wales sensationally made it to the semi-finals of the European Championships. Now he wants to be on the front line with Gareth Bale next year as the Welsh get ready for another adventure.
The 27-year-old reckons that blasting goals between now and May will mean international manager Ryan Giggs will have to consider him.
Netting against Rangers under the Friday night lights at Easter Road this week will undoubtedly aid his cause after a seven-goal burst – which has earned him the Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month award for November – came to an end against Aberdeen last weekend.
Doidge said: “The prospect of playing for Wales was one of the reasons for moving up here. I knew I was coming to a better league and playing against better players.
“So with the boys qualifying for the Euros, it would be a dream of mine to play for my country.
“I was one of the lads in the fanzones when they were at the last Euros and nothing would make me prouder to represent my country.”
Doidge was Paul Heckingbottom’s main signing last summer, but he had not scored a league goal by the time the Yorkshireman was fired at the beginning of last month.
But he has hardly stopped scoring since and believes there is a lot more to come as Hibs try to battle for a Europa League slot under Jack Ross.
Doidge said: “Celtic and Rangers are both top sides and you can see what they’re doing in Europe with both of them qualifying for the knockout phase and that shows how good they are.
“They’ve got some fantastic players and it’s hard to play against them. We know it would be a massive scalp if you beat either of them.
“We’ve got Rangers on Friday night and we hope we can get something from that game.
“We drew with Celtic at Easter Road earlier in the season so we’ve shown that it’s a hard place for other teams to get a result at. We’re hopeful we can do something against Rangers too.
“We’re in the top six so first and foremost we want to stay there and then get as high as we can and then try to get in the mix for a Europa League slot.”
Doidge sprang into life under caretaker Eddie May with a hat-trick against St Johnstone and he knows it was the fortunate first strike that changed the dynamics for him.
He said: “It was a really disappointing time when Paul Heckingbottom left. He was the man that had brought me to the club. I got on really well with him and I really wanted to do well for him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
“When Eddie took over, I think we all went out against St Johnstone and tried to be free flowing and it seemed to work. It was a chance for me and Flo Kamberi to play together and it seemed to work so hopefully we can kick on again.
“To come to a place like Hibernian as the No 9 there was pressure on me to hit the ground running.
“Obviously I didn’t make the start I wanted to but hopefully the month of the November will really kick me on for the rest of the season.
“I got a couple of League Cup goals but then I couldn’t score in the Premiership so it wasn’t an easy time. I just had to work hard and get into the positions where I had scored goals in my career before.
“Luckily I got that first one against St Johnstone when the ball came back to me and I managed to put it away. That was the start.
“I went on to get six in the month and that happens to a centre forward at times – it’s like buses, none for ages and then they all come at once.
“I’ve had runs like that throughout my career so hopefully I can start another one.
“I’ve got good team-mates around me and I knew the chances would come so I had to keep believing. I knew Scott Allan was someone who could pick a pass because of his vision and when you make a run you know he’s going to pick me out.”
Doidge has already played for Wales – at basketball! Now he’d love to get capped at football. He added: “It seems like a long time ago now. I was released from Bristol Rovers when I was 15 and I was heartbroken so I decided to go down another route and took up basketball.
“I went on to play for Wales at the European Championships but it got to the point where I couldn’t really go any further so I decided to play football again. I’m getting to do what I love. It’s brilliant to come into work every day as a footballer – it’s something that I always dreamed of.”