Defiant Christian Doidge speaks on Hibs future - 'we had a really good, honest conversation'
After a season sitting on the sidelines with covid, illness and injuries, the last thing Christian Doidge wanted to hear on the eve of pre-season was that his chances may be limited again this term.
Informed he may not be a pivotal player as Hibs look to implement a fresh style of pressing, forward-facing play, he has been the one on the front foot ever since.
Deciding that life at Hibs is something worth fighting for, the striker has impressed in training and followed that up with the perfect gift to mark new manager Lee Johnson’s competitive debut at Easter Road.
And, if 13 is unlucky for some, the fact Doidge netted a hat-trick in so many minutes could bolster his fortunes, albeit the goals came against lower league opposition and further attacking options are lurking in the wings, waiting visas in the case of the newcomers, and rehabilitation in the case of Kevin Nisbet.
“When a new manager comes in you’ve got to try and impress him. He knows I’ve been here a few years now and obviously if you look at my last season it wasn’t great, was it? So it’s nice to be fit and available hopefully throughout the year and it was nice to show him that I’m a goal threat.”
Top scorer in 2019/20 and a key component in a prolific frontline the following season, he managed just two goals last season. He has already improved on that tally.
“We had a really good, honest conversation at the start of pre-season and it was nice to get some clarity. But, now I’ve played the first game of the season and hopefully that tells me I will be playing in the first league game of the season. But I have to keep working hard and see what happens.
“I’ve got two years left on my contract so I’m not going to go anywhere unless I really want to go there.
“I love playing for this club and I feel I’ve got something to show and prove and I am going to continue to do that until someone tells me anything different.”
Opening the scoring in the 16th minute, by the 29th minute he had added two more, with Elias Melkersen and a deflected Josh Campbell effort completing the 5-0 first-half rout of Danny Lennon’s Clyde side. They failed to add any more after the interval as Johnson reshuffled his pack, ensuring competitive debuts for David Marshall, Nohan Kenneh, Kyle McClelland, Lewis Miller and Dylan Tait.
“We played some really good attacking stuff in that first half and I love being in the box and being a nuisance,” said the Welsh striker.
There was zest, momentum and purpose to the first half of the Premier Sports Cup group match against their League One opponents. But that wasn’t just down to new personnel, it was a fresh tactical outlook and a dynamism that had been lacking last season. There was also a clinical edge.
“I’m really enjoying it,” added Doidge. “The way the manager wants to play is perfect for attacking players. I want to get out there and show what I can do.”