Why Ross County's Oli Shaw did not celebrate when he scored against Hibs
As they headed back to Leith to face their former club, new Ross County boss John Hughes was adamant that the only person Oli Shaw needs to prove himself to these days is him.
But, having spent so much of his fledgling career at Hibs, before leaving in search of more regular first team action a year ago, the 22-year-old had turned up at Easter Road on Wednesday night intent on making a point.
As it transpired, he made three, to help Ross County off the foot of the Premiership table.
Setting up one goal and netting another as the Highland side picked up a much-needed victory, the magnitude of the moment was not lost on Shaw, even if his subdued response suggested otherwise.
“Obviously we needed the result and it takes us off of the foot of the table as well so it’s a big three points and I’m happy to get a goal.
“I put a good shift in and it’s always good to score a goal when you’re a striker, so I’m happy with that.”
That delight was not plastered all over his face but, he explained, he fought to keep his emotions in check as he wanted to afford his former employers and ex-team-mates his respect.
“I didn’t really feel like I wanted to celebrate. Obviously, they gave me a chance when I was here and they helped my development a lot in my career from the youths into the first team and then they gave me the opportunity to come to Ross County and play football. I’m grateful to them for that. So, I had a muted celebration but inside I was buzzing.”
Highly regarded when he broke through at Hibs, where he made over 60 first team appearances, he was hailed as “one of the best young players, certainly for his age group, in Europe”, by chief executive Leeann Dempster and favoured by then manager Neil Lennon. But chances became more limited when Paul Heckingbottom and then Jack Ross took over and Shaw made the switch to Dingwall last January.
“I had been here a long time and came through at youth level, so to come back here and grab a goal is good. I enjoyed it. But the most important thing is that we got the three points.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game. I know what [Ryan] Porteous and [Paul] Hanlon are like.
“Coming into the game I knew it was going to be a tough game. I knew I’d be playing off scraps as they’d have the bulk of possession. But, we popped the ball about quite well at times, played off scraps and got the two goals – and the three points.”
The insider knowledge helped as he faced up to guys he had trained with and against for years, well aware of the strengths and weaknesses and how best to try to unsettle them.
“At the end of the day it’s a game of football. You go into the game knowing what you want to do and what movements you want to make but it changes in the game. It was all about playing on the shoulder and putting a shift in for the team and I feel I did that.”
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