Back when Kieran Tierney was making the Double Tree By Hilton Young Scottish Player of the Year award his own personal possession, Josh Doig was in the crowd becoming ever more inspired.
Now, three years after Scotland’s £25-million man completed his hat-trick of wins, the precocious Hibernian defender has succeeded in getting his own hands on the trophy, as voted for by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association.
Still just 18 years old, he beat out the heavyweight trio of Celtic’s David Turnbull, Lewis Ferguson of Aberdeen – winners in 2019 and 2020 respectively – and Rangers starlet, Nathan Patterson, to top the category.
“To win the award over them, it is shocking! It is such a confidence boost for me and a testament for how the team has done this season,” said Doig.
“I know all the other players on the list and there are a few others who weren’t there, too. Players I have watched.
“Last season and before, when I wasn’t in professional football, I was idolising these guys and what they were doing at that age.”
Tierney, who was with Celtic when he won his awards but is now starring in the Premier League for Arsenal, was his main inspiration.
“Growing up, he was the one,” said Edinburgh-born Doig.
“Going to games, I always liked to watch him.
“He was so young but he always had that heart and desire, that aggression about him that was very inspiring.
“I always remember my dad saying: ‘Keep an eye on him’.
“You could tell he was going to go far and what he is doing at Arsenal now is absolutely mental.
“He’s someone you want to idolise because of what he has done in his career already.
“He’s had setbacks, too. I know when he was younger he was told he wasn’t big enough. I was the same, I was so skinny and I got released.
“Kieran used those setbacks to drive forward. He is someone every young left-back in Scotland should be idolising.
“He is such a hard-working person and has that drive that you don’t see so much now. He is a top player now and I try to follow his path as much as I can.
“I can’t take it for granted because I know I will need to work hard if I want to get anywhere near him.
“He was at Celtic for a few seasons and was so consistent. That was his main thing and it’s something I am trying to bring to my game week in, week out.
“He was playing brilliantly, scoring goals and assists, too.
“I have looked up the list of past winners, they’re all legends.
“Going back to Scott Brown and Steven Fletcher, to be put in the same category as them is unbelievable.
“But I can’t take anything for granted I know myself I make so many mistakes.
“The gaffer, Jack Ross, and John Potter, are always showing me what I can do better. The gaffer is great because he will bring me down a peg if need be.”
The gong is reward for a season of eye-catching performances from the teen who has given every opposition defence problems through his sprints down Hibs’ left side.
“I knew coming in that I had to do something to impress,” said Doig.
“So when I reported for pre-season I came with an energy. I knew I had to try to be fitter than everyone and look like a mature player on the ball.
“I came in with that confidence and I reaped the rewards in the first game of the season.
“And I have never looked back. You can’t really stop. That first game at Kilmarnock feels like yesterday things have moved so fast.
“We’re now coming to the end of the seasons and we have a few massive games. It’s crazy, a dream and I am enjoying every second of it.”
Josh Doig was speaking as he collected the DoubleTree By Hilton SFWA Young Scottish Player of the Year award.
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