First Team Experience Always Helps

Last updated : 30 May 2007 By Ed_ScottishFitba
The Hibs lads have come on in leaps and bounds this season
Under 20s coach Tommy Wilson has joined the Hibs fan club as he praised the Easter Road side's youth development programme as several of their youngsters push for a place in the squad for the Under-20 World Cup. Manager John Collins has made the likes of Ross Chisholm, Kevin McCann and Lewis Stevenson into first-team regulars since he arrived last October. Another couple, Ross Campbell and Sean Lynch, are vying for places in the pool for the Canada tournament, while Steven Fletcher and Andy McNeil were part of the side that ensures Scotland qualified for the global event by reaching the final of the UEFA Under-19 Championship in Poland last summer. As Scotland will have to do without Dundee United midfielder Greg Cameron and Celtic pair Simon Ferry and Charlie Grant due to injury, Wilson is grateful for Hibs youth system.

The Rangers youth coach, who also coaches the Scotland team along with former Scotland midfielder Archie Gemmill, said: "
I'm really disappointed for guys like Ferry, Grant and Greg Cameron, who played a massive part in getting us this far. But you always know that there will be changes, and there are a number of players who would have forced their way in regardless. That's certainly the case with someone like Ross Campbell, who came in for two matches and scored four goals. The Hibs lads have come on in leaps and bounds this season. You look at the likes of Ross, Kevin McCann and Lewis Stevenson, who weren't even in the running to play in Poland, but who've now made it so difficult now for us to leave them out. It's a great credit to Hibs and a real feather in their cap that they're providing us with such a large group of players. With the form that these lads have been showing, they'll definitely have a big influence on how we get on in Canada."

Striker Campbell believes what he has learnt at Easter Road will stand him and his team-mates in good stead for the Canada tournament, if selected. The young striker said: "
Our passing game is definitely going to surprise a lot of people. At Hibs, we're just not allowed to play long balls - it's all short, sharp passes - and it's the same here with Scotland. Here, it's all pass-and-move, possession football, probing for an opening, and maybe that will go against some people's expectations." Midfielder Lynch feels the Hibs policy of putting youngsters in the first team early has given them a head start on players from rival clubs. He said: "The fact that we're all here is a tribute to what Hibs are doing in terms of bringing young players through the ranks rather than spending lots of money on foreign players. The club's very good for introducing the young lads to first-team training at a very early age, so it means you develop a lot more quickly. I think we've certainly gone from boys to men a lot faster than we would have at some other clubs."

Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)

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