Ever since disposing of closest challengers Dundee United with relative ease last Friday, the Hibernian fans propping up the bar in the Transfer Tavern have been in very good spirits indeed.
Following the scenes of unbridled joy lining the streets of Leith after the Hibees finally secured an elusive Scottish Cup crown back in May, it’s fair to say this season in the Scottish Championship hasn’t been the walk in the park many expected it to be as they attempt to make it back to the big time.
With bitter rivals Hearts and Rangers out of the equation, the capture of Neil Lennon as Alan Stubbs’ replacement was supposed to be the start of a dominant march towards the proverbial Promised Land to cap off a wonderful calendar year at Easter Road.
Now perhaps such a view was not wholly reflective on the competitiveness in Scotland’s second-tier and, while there are some good teams battling it out in the division, there’s little doubt the Cabbage and Ribs have made life far more difficult for themselves at times.
Still, the smashing of second placed Dundee United under the floodlights on a wonderful night at the Leith San Siro is hopefully a turning point in what could now be a champagne campaign for ‘Lenny’ and his staff.
Crucial to that 3-0 thumping was forward Jason Cummings, who notched two goals against the Tangarines to settle any nerves heading into the game. Undoubtedly the best marksman in the division his side currently lead, it’s not been an easy ride for the 21-year-old.
Despite scoring in his opening six league games of the season, the Scotland U21 man has been dropped by his new manager at times this term and even went three months without finding the back of the net. Such is the swagging nature of their snarling stiker, he and the disciplinarian-like former Celtic manager don’t always seem like a natural fit.
However, there is no denying Cummings’ form this season, having already bagged a mightily impressive 12 goals in 20 outings while frittering in and out the side of late. So then, it’s little surprise to see him linked with relatively big money moves south of the border, with the likes of Queens Park Rangers reportedly keen on him.
But would leaving so soon, either this month or the summer, be the best career move for him? Hibs have produced a long line of forwards who’ve been shipped off over the years, including the likes of Derek Riodan, Gary O’Connor, Steven Fletcher and Leigh Griffiths.
Those individuals have reached varying levels of success and, while the idea of keeping Cummings long-term may be unrealistic, both he and Hibs should realise they are best suited together right now.
Within his native Edinburgh, the forward looks like a superstar and trying his luck in the Premiership clad in the green and white of the Scottish Cup holders will surely serve him best as he looks to prove himself outside of the Championship confines.
If he’s really going to succeed as everyone connected with Hibernian FC oh so desperately want him to, testing himself as the main man (paired with the super John McGinn) under a big name manager such as Lennon at the club where he made his name for at least a season is essential. Before stepping into the unknown down south, Scotland’s burgeoning young forward needs to do it in their top tier.
As we’ve seen with Hibs strikers in years gone by, big moves certainly do come. Cummings really shouldn’t be in a rush to leave at all.
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