Oli Shaw hopes Thierry Henry can inspire him to be a star for Hibernian

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Dad Greg and grandfather Dick were both professionals, and strikers as well, so it’s obvious who the latest Shaw to make it in the game looks up to the most.

That’s right, Thierry Henry.

Leith might be a long way from London but Arsenal were the Hibernian forward’s team growing up and their French talisman was very much his idol. If you are going to take tips from anyone as a young footballer then why not the best.

Shaw is his own man and at 20 has started to establish himself in Neil Lennon’s side. He is raw, of course, but the talent is obvious and he aims, with help from his hero, to become the best he can be.

“Thierry Henry was my hero as a kid,” he admitted. “I was an Arsenal fan as a youngster and I went to a few of the games.

“I was bought one of their strips when I was younger and a birthday present I received one year was to go down there for a match. It was just when The Emirates opened. I think it was against Wolves.

“I had already followed Henry and took it onto his Barcelona days when he left Arsenal. He was the ultimate. I had video clips of him in the house when I was younger and I would watch them.

“The poster was on the wall. Remember you got those Match of the Day magazines and there were posters in there.

“Obviously, football runs in my family and my dad was very big on these things about telling me to watch the big games and the big players. The coaches here tell you the same thing.

“You watch guys in your position and try to learn any little thing that you can. Being a young player going into a first-team, you are attempting to mirror what they do and it can only help. The slightest of margins can make all of the difference, so you try to find something.

“Henry’s pace and finishing made him the best for me. He never tended to blast things, he placed things. He knew what he was doing and was composed in front of the goal. He was direct and scored important goals. That’s what attached me to him.”

Shaw will take heart from the fact Henry struggled at the beginning his time at Arsenal. The Hibs kid has been forced to take some flack, which goes with the territory, but also makes you wonder why we are so hard on players trying to find their way in the game.

Shaw has character, vital if he’s going to make it, and has handled this side of football well.

He said: “Criticism is part of the game. Age doesn’t make you exempt. I want to take as much responsibility as anyone else and it’s a striker’s job to go out and score goals for Hibs.

“That’s why the club pays us. Ultimately, it’s my job. As a young player, I’ll take that responsibility. I want to have it. I feel I can relish things under pressure and, if the manager has a go, I take it on board and try to use it to improve. If you score the goal, you can be the hero.”

“I felt I started off well, but then picked up wee injuries and was in and out of the team a wee bit.

“The last month or so has been good for me, I’ve enjoyed it, the gaffer has thrown me into some big games and I’ve relished the occasions.

“The only disappointing thing is that I haven’t scored as many goals as I would have liked, but over the piece, I’m pretty pleased.

“Strikers play on confidence, but, even if I’m not scoring, the gaffer seems to have belief in me that I can offer other things to the team and that is, of course, a bonus. If you are doing that, you get into the big games and I’m learning a lot.”

There is an honesty about Shaw which is rather endearing. He’s open about his ups and down, how he’s dealt with it, both positively and negatively, which suggests he has the personality to cope with most things his job will throw at him.

Shaw said: “I needed to stay grounded as a youngster and there are ups and downs. You take away the moment from me that I scored my first goal for Hibs against Celtic at Hampden. That was important for me and my family.

“People might think you just go to the top after that, but it’s not how it works. There is hard work and there are obstacles in the way. Opposition want to stop you scoring, it’s hard.

“People watch you to see your strengths and weaknesses. It’s the same with our video team and I’ll look at opponents the same way. As a young player coming into the first-team environment, you want people looking at you.”