Hibernian midfielder Josh Campbell is delighted to finally be making an impact at his boyhood club after spending the last three seasons on loan in the lower leagues.
The 21-year-old has been farmed out to Airdrie, Arbroath and Edinburgh City in recent campaigns as he struggled to establish himself at Easter Road since making his debut under Paul Heckingbottom in the summer of 2019.
Campbell looked to be out of the picture but he has taken advantage of an injury to Kyle Magennis by starting each of Hibs’ past four games.
The Edinburgh-born midfielder admits it has been a challenge to force his way into the team.
He said: “I didn’t really worry about whether it was going to happen for me at Hibs, it was more just a case of trying to find my feet.
“I had a difficult season on loan at Arbroath when I didn’t play, and I lost confidence, which is why I dropped down a few leagues.
“I went to Edinburgh City and found my feet, scoring goals and getting assists, and it definitely brought my confidence back up.
“It’s a massive step to go from playing at Edinburgh City in League Two to playing in the Hibs first team. There’s a big difference in the physicality and the pace of the game but I think I’ve adapted quite well to it.
“I’m 21 and I want to be playing regular first-team football. I’m doing that now so I just want to keep working hard and continue playing.”
Campbell’s current run in the team began when he was named as a surprise starter for the recent Premier Sports Cup semi-final win over Rangers.
Asked why he felt manager Jack Ross had given him a chance, he said: “Injuries have probably helped me. We probably didn’t have the energy and attacking threat that I bring in terms of running in behind.
“I also like to press and that’s the way the gaffer wants to play so it could be that that’s helped me get back in the team.”
Adding to Campbell’s recent buoyancy, he was rewarded with a new contract this week which will keep him tied to the club he supported as a boy until 2025.
He said: “I’ve been here 11 years and the new contract will take me up to about 15 years. There’s no place I’d rather be.
“It was in the back of my mind that my contract was coming to an end but at the same time I knew I was still at the club and that I could get an opportunity to play.
“I was quite surprised that the offer of a new contract came so quick after I got back in the team but I was delighted to sign it.”