Young Hibs defender targeting Easter Road breakthrough after loan

HIBS kid Callum Booth has set his sights on forcing his way into boss Colin Calderwood's plans when he returns to Easter Road next month after being farmed out on loan to Brechin City.

The 19-year-old has spent the first half of the season, along with Hibs team-mate Ewan Moyes, with the Second Division outfit, the pair helping Jim Weir's side to the top of the table.

But as much as he has enjoyed his experience at Glebe Park, the young defender is determined to make his mark in a green and white jersey.

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Part of the Easter Road Under-19 side which swept to an unprecedented League and Cup double two seasons ago, Booth, who spent the second half of last season with Arbroath, insisted he has benefited from the experience of having now played more than 30 first team matches, albeit in a lower division. He said: "It's a step up, playing in front of crowds and for win bonuses. The games are a lot more competitive.

"I've enjoyed the experience, we've been doing well and I've played in a lot of the games although we've not played for the last couple of weeks because of the snow.

"I'm probably seen as a left back but I've been playing there, left midfield and left wing. I like getting forward as much as possible, getting to the bye-line and getting crosses in."

Although on loan to the Angus club, Booth and Moyes, along with Kurtis Byrne and Scott Taggart who have moved temporarily to East Fife and Ayr United respectively, continue to train with Calderwood's squad at East Mains on a regular basis. And Booth admitted he hopes he has already managed to catch the new manager's eye. He said: "I've enjoyed working under him so far and when I come back I'd hope that between then and the end of the season I can force myself into the picture.

"I've never been in the first team squad but hopefully I can get into the squad to begin with, then perhaps onto the bench and by the end of the season have a couple of games under my belt. But I know I have to keep working hard every day."

Booth's performances with Brechin - where he has played 13 games and claimed two goals - earned him promotion from Scotland's Under-19 squad to the Under-21s for last month's challenge match against Northern Ireland, the youngster making his debut as he replaced Easter Road team-mate Paul Hanlon for the final 24 minutes in a 3-1 win.

He said: "I've played for the Under-19s for the last couple of years so I know the coach Billy Stark. Even so, I was surprised to be picked for the Under-21s. But I have two years left at that level, the next qualifying campaign starts early next year and obviously I'm hoping I can keep myself in the frame."

Meanwhile, Hibs legends Pat Stanton, Jimmy O'Rourke and Alex Cropley will be at Extra-Time Memorabilia at Ocean Terminal from 2-4 pm tomorrow to sign strips marking the 7-0 win over Hearts in 1973 while Mickey Weir and Keith Wright will be at the same venue from 4-6pm to sign limited Skol Cup 1991 prints.