Hibernian head coach Jack Ross has hailed debutant Josh Doig following the teenager’s baptism of fire against former Scotland star Chris Burke.
The 18-year-old was handed his first ever competitive start against Kilmarnock on Saturday following a string of fine pre-season performances, including a goal against Celtic last week.
It was a huge show of faith from Ross, with Easter Road great Lewis Stevenson left on the bench for the curtain-raiser.
Doig helped Hibs to a 2-1 victory, with Martin Boyle bagging a brace, and in spite of a couple of testing moments against Burke – who notched Killie’s goal with a sensational free-kick – he stood up to the challenge.
“Josh is an 18-year-old making his full debut for the club, but he was excellent,” Ross said.
“He tired a bit, and was playing against a really good opponent in Chris Burke, so that will be another good education for him. But he can be very pleased with himself.
“It’s emotionally draining making your debut, whether fans are there or not, and he looked like he had played a number of games already.”
Fellow debutant Kevin Nisbet teed up Boyle’s first goal, while Alex Gogic and Drey Wright both turned in solid maiden outings in green.
Ross added: “I’m really happy with them all. I had no concerns over Drey, Alex and Kevin, in terms of how they have fitted in.
“I thought they would all produce good performances and they all did well.”
Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer was keen to accentuate the positives despite an opening day defeat.
Killie forced the hosts to defend resolutely in a much-improved second half, with Ofir Marciano forced to make a stunning save to stop Paul Hanlon from turning a Greg Kiltie cross into his own net.
Burke then stung the palms of the Israel international with another free-kick from distance, while substitute Danny Whitehall headed narrowly over the crossbar in the closing stage.
Dyer said: “There were a lot of positives to take from the match despite the result.
“I thought we showed a lot of spirit after going behind and I thought we controlled the game for long spells.
“The (Burke) goal was also something special and I am encouraged by the whole performance. We just need to stop making life hard for ourselves by conceding sloppy goals.”
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