Hibs defender Ryan Porteous' 'mature' derby performance shows the upward trajectory he is back on

When the transfer window closed at the end of August, there were sighs of relief at Easter Road as Hibs kept hold of the key players that took them to third place in the cinch Premiership last season.

Hibs defender Ryan Porteous, right, was in good form against Hearts.

Interest in Martin Boyle was fended off by a new, improved contract, and while there were clubs eyeing up striker Kevin Nisbet and left-back Josh Doig, no suitable offers came in for the duo deemed to be Hibs’ most prized assets.

One player who didn’t hog much of the limelight over the summer is central defender Ryan Porteous. A reported bid for £1 million came in for the Scotland Under-21 internationalist from English Championship club Millwall, but Hibs rejected and held firm, believing that the amount of money was insufficient for a player who is continuing to improve and has already been in Steve Clarke’s full Scotland squad.

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It is easy to forget that Porteous is only 22-years-old, given that he made his Hibs debut back in 2017 and has largely been mainstay for the past three seasons. Knee injuries have kept his number of senior games down, but he still has 122 appearances on the clock, including a season on loan at Edinburgh City.

The 2021/22 campaign is the one where he’s had a largely uninterrupted stint in central defence alongside Paul Hanlon. Under the tutelage of manager Jack Ross, but in particular assistant boss John Potter, a defender himself in his playing days, he has continued to grow and become more mature. There are still the occasional rash tackles and wayward passes, but he has tightened up his game considerably and his performance in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby proved that.

With the exception of one jitter in the first half, Porteous was dominant. He kept Hearts’ main danger man Liam Boyce, who likes to use his strength to bully defenders, very quiet, and was impervious in his own penalty box, making all manner of headed clearances and interceptions. Porteous has improved his positioning significantly.

His development has not gone unnoticed by Jack Ross, who singled out Porteous’ performance after the clash at Tynecastle as he hailed his team’s character.

"That’s the part you have to grow and cultivate,” Ross said when asked about the improved resolute nature of his Hibs team.

“That mindset and demands you make on them every day to reach that point.

“But you only see it in real tough environments and I keep speaking about this, but we have made real progress.

“We’ve had some bumps along the way as well and today was that test for them.

“Take Ryan Porteous for example, who I think is a brilliant young player.

“I do think at times he has been harshly treated in this country over some things.

“But for the number of games he has played as a young man he is terrific.

“And I think the mature performance he produced today was another sign of that.

“Not blemish free, but really good, and that’s hopefully another indication of how these young players are continuing to grow and the club should see benefits from that as well.”

More displays like the one Porteous put in against Hearts will result in his future being talked about yet again when the transfer window reopens in January.

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