Ryan Porteous is the local lad living the dream at Hibernian.
The born-and-bred Hibee has won rave reviews for his performances in Neil Lennon’s first team this season - alongside captaining Scotland’s Under-19s - and is keen to end his breakthrough season on a high.
Ryan, talk us through the drama of the semi-final win over Celtic.
We were just delighted to get through, no matter what it took. Celtic have an unbelievable record in the Youth Cup so we knew what we were up against. It was a really difficult game to play in and I think you could see what the game meant to both teams. It maybe wasn’t the best to watch but we left everything out on the pitch. We should really have got over the line inside 90 minutes but to do it on penalties was something else. We have our goalkeeper, Kevin Dabrowski, to thank for saving two of them and he has been something else all season for us. Thankfully Oli Shaw managed to slot away the winner and here we are.
You’re coming into this one on the back of clinching the SPFL Development League. How much did that mean to you all?
I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet. I think the players and staff deserve credit because we’ve worked hard all season for it. I think the experience of last year drove us on, because we had the chance to pull level with Ross County but we blew it. We’re probably stronger now for that disappointment. Having said that, as proud as we are of what we’ve achieved, we know it won’t count for anything against Aberdeen.
Hibs clinched the Double back in 2009. Has that been mentioned much around East Mains?
I’ve heard it talked about. It was Paul Hanlon’s age-group, though he said he only played in the semi-final. The first-team boys have told us to really go for it because it would be an unbelievable feeling to go on and win the Youth Cup after winning the league. It’s our second year together as a group and it’s a great feeling to be out there playing with your pals. We all know what football’s like – totally unpredictable. For some boys – and I hope this isn’t the case – this might be the highlight of some careers so we have to make the most of it. We also want to do it for the dedicated group of supporters who travel to watch all of our games.
You obviously got a great grounding on loan at Edinburgh City last season, but how do you reflect on a breakthrough campaign?
Honestly, at the start of the season I would have settled for making my full debut and maybe making a handful of experiences. I thought I might go back out on loan but the manager had enough faith in me to keep me around the first team. He’s given me opportunities to go out and perform so I have to thank him for that. It’s been a dream season that’s exceeded my expectations. I want to finish on a high now between the Youth Cup Final and the top-six run-in with the first team, then come back and try to better it next season.