James Scott: Hibs forward opens up on public shaming and criticism as he prepares for Hull return

James Scott was shocked when he picked up the papers in the wake of Hibs’ defeat to Celtic back in October and saw his manager questioning his fitness.

Hibs' James Scott has found life difficult on loan from Hull City.
Hibs' James Scott has found life difficult on loan from Hull City.

Omitted from the squad for that game, despite the fact the club were struggling for options in the final third, the then Hibs boss Jack Ross was asked why.

The response was pretty damning. “James needs to be fitter. He’s available, but he needs to be fitter. Once he is, then he’ll be back in contention.”

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Having travelled back up to Scotland to get more game-time on loan from Hull and prove his worth following serious injury, the former Motherwell starlet was unprepared for the public shaming.

“I just picked up the paper and it isn’t nice as a young player,” explains the 21-year-old, “but I respected the decision he made. I didn’t want to come and have a go. I just wanted to put my head down and work even harder to try and prove him wrong and he started playing me again.

“I used it as a positive. My family, agent and some of the players were saying: ‘Don’t take it to heart’. But you need to take it to heart or you don’t come out better.

“I hadn’t been playing and I came on loan to try and get game-time as I’d had a horrible injury and coming off the bench is so hard.

“I could have sunk away, but I’ve pushed to get a goal and an assist towards the end of the season and I think I’ve been playing well the last few games.”

Had Ross’ comments come earlier in Scott’s development, there might have been a more volatile reaction. But, the young Scot, who will return to the Tigers for pre-season training looking to kick-start his career at the Championship club, says he has evolved this term.

“Definitely. In my career, everything has mostly gone well, but this season has been a massive change in outlook.

“I’m more mature. If I get left out or don’t play, instead of going and arguing with the gaffer or doing all the petty stuff, I just work so much harder, get my head down and focus. Going forward, that’s something I’ll take on.

“Most of it is down to me, but the coaching staff and players have helped me massively.

"Boys like Paul Hanlon and Darren McGregor are brilliant. If something doesn’t go right, they are always trying to praise you and get you going. That’s important for a young player.”

In the stands and in the media, there has been criticism but, understanding where it comes from, Scott has tried to channel that positively, too.

“I’ve had a bit of stick here and it happens when the results aren’t going well. I don’t blame the fans for having a go at the players because it has not been good enough.

“I have finished the season off the way I should have been the full season, so I understand where they are coming from.

“To come back from an injury is hard. I have put a bit of weight on and I’m not the tricky winger I was before, but these things happen and you have to adapt. But these last two weeks, I have shown what I am capable of.”