Josh Doig on why he 'absolutely loves' playing for Hibs and maturing as a player
The 2020/21 campaign was his breakthrough at Easter Road. And what a breakthrough it was under Jack Ross. He played 36 times, including two semi-finals and a final and helped the club finish third in the top-flight for the first time since 2005.
There was adversity but he responded in a positive manner.
The physical and technical qualities he displayed, the confidence and attitude, it was no surprise transfer interest emerged.
Not only did he have to deal with that there was also the return of fans, bringing a whole new dimension of pressure and expectation.
Even with all that, Doig is made of something special. An innate mental quality that’s developed organically.
"After last season, winning the Young Player of the Year award, I knew it was going to be hard,” he said.
"I wasn't just a young laddie coming into the squad, I'm a first team player now. There are expectations on you.
"I said to myself at the start of the season that I wasn't dying to impress anyone. I was just looking to play my game, add some composure and maturity. I thought that was an important thing to work on as I'm getting older now.
"Playing week in, week out, that's all that really matters. On and off the pitch I'm dealing with mistakes and putting them to the back of my mind.
"Last season there were no fans, so there was no one to get on at you if you did make a mistake. This season has been a massive experience to mature for myself as a footballer."
The 19-year-old admitted to being distracted by transfer speculation during the summer but now takes it in his stride with Serie A side Sassuolo the latest to show interest.
Good news for Hibs fans, however, is that Doig, contracted until 2026, “absolutely loves” playing for Hibs and is enjoying working under new boss Shaun Maloney.
"They brought me in at an under-18s level and they've built me up ever since," he said.
"It's ten-minutes away from my house, so it's the closest football club to where I stay at the moment.
"It's an absolute dream playing there. I couldn't be happier."
He added: "It's been the first change of managers that I've experienced at a club.
"It was another challenge and new experience for myself.
"Shaun and Gary [Caldwell] have both been amazing. It's a different style of play and there's a lot more tactical work. I'm absolutely loving it."
Doig's focus is on the Scotland Under-21s’ two crucial European Championship qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan but even he can’t get away from the “massive run” Hibs have coming up.
They face Dundee United and Hearts in the league to secure top six football then there is the small matter of an Edinburgh derby Scottish Cup final.
"I've played at Hampden in every opportunity Hibs have had since I came into the first team,” Doig said. “I know what's at stake.
"We've had a few very good wins there, but definitely some disappointing results also. My Hampden experiences have been a rollercoaster.
"I'm hoping we can go in a few weeks and win that derby. I wouldn't mind that."
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