Hibs' Josh Campbell: I'm not shy and scared of making mistakes now - how confidence has grown and importance of City loan

Josh Campbell’s rise at Hibs can be summed up by looking at fixtures against Motherwell.

Josh Campbell has played in Hibs' past four matches - two of which have been against Rangers.
Josh Campbell has played in Hibs' past four matches - two of which have been against Rangers.

On the opening day of the Premiership season, Campbell came on as a substitute on 84 minutes – “nervous”, as the player admits – to help Hibs see out a 3-2 win at Fir Park.

This weekend, as the Steelmen come to Easter Road, Campbell will most likely be in the team for the fifth game in a row, the 21-year-old impressing in midfield with his energy and drive following a surprise start in last month’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final success against Rangers. He has earned a new four-year contract on the back of it and the plaudits from his manager and coaches.

Campbell was on loan at Edinburgh City last season, playing predominantly as a left-winger in League Two, and the likeable youth academy graduate is pinching himself at the current situation he finds himself in. He admits to having doubts about making the grade at Hibs, but says he has become more confident and a better player since that brief Lanarkshire cameo in August.

"I expected to break into the first team when I was a bit younger, but everyone breaks through at different ages and I'm just happy that it's happened now,” said Campbell. “I just need to keep working hard and stay in the team.

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"It's at the back of your mind at times [that you might not make it it] but if I just don't focus on that and let the football do the talking, work hard in training, then good things come and that's happening.

"I think I'm more confident than I was when I came on at Motherwell. I was a bit shy, I didn't want to attack or be scared of making mistakes, but now the gaffer has put that trust in me and he's happy if I make a mistake, I need to react to it. My confidence is sky-high right now and I just need to keep working."

Campbell credits last season’s loan spell at Edinburgh City as a big factor in his development. He had previously spent time at Airdrieonians and Arbroath, but became one of City’s most important players as they lost out in the promotion play-offs.

“The City loan helped me massively,” continued Campbell. “I was playing in a position that I'd never played before on the left wing, but I really enjoyed it and scored a number of goals, got a few assists. It was something I unlocked that I didn't know I had. It was enjoyable.”

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Hibs assistant coach John Potter praised Campbell’s work ethic and patience in getting a chance at Hibs.

“Josh is a good player and we’ve always known he was a good player,” said Potter.

“First of all, he had to work hard to get his opportunity, which he’s done. And then when you get the opportunity you’ve got to try to take it and I think in his performances he has taken his opportunity.

“He was probably a bit unfortunate, because he probably could have been in a couple more starting line-ups before when we had a couple of games called off. But he’s worked hard, he’s been patient and worked on little bits of his game that we’ve spoken about, and he’s done well.”

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