As we build up to Sunday’s Scottish League Cup Final, David Brockett takes a look at two key players in Jason Cummings of Hibernian and Ross County midfielder Jackson Irvine.
With 20 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this season, it’s easy to understand why Jason Cummings is arguably one of Scottish football’s hottest prospects.
His release from Hearts and subsequent signing for arch rivals Hibs has been well documented, with the 20-year-old attracting interest from a whole host of English Championship clubs.
Having already picked up a Ladbrokes Championship Player of the Month award this season, Cummings has contributed four goals in Hibs’ road to the final, netting against St Johnstone, Dundee United, Aberdeen and Montrose.
Whilst his eye for goal is Cummings’ most obvious asset, last season’s Championship top scorer has grown in maturity and stature by improving his overall game.
Mainly deployed in a two-pronged attack by Hibs boss Alan Stubbs, Cummings often drifts wide as to draw defenders out of position and stretch the opposition, with his link-up play and dynamic movement notable improvements over the past season.
Likened to Levante’s on-loan Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi by Scotland U21 boss Ricky Sbragia, adding a League Cup winner’s medal would be the icing on the cake for the Edinburgh-born star, whose stock is certainly on the rise.
In the Ross County camp, midfielder Jackson Irvine has been instrumental in guiding the Staggies to the final of the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
A former Celtic youth player, Irvine has become a mainstay in Jim McIntyre’s side, making over 30 appearances for a County team who currently sit joint-fourth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Still just 23, the Australian international has earned plaudits for a series of impressive displays since his summer switch to Dingwall. A combative, box-to-box midfielder, Irvine has also been tipped as the natural successor to Crystal Palace and Australia captain Mike Jedinak.
Despite being capped by Scotland at U19 level, Irvine has since captained the ‘Olyroos’ (Australia’s U23 national side), and made his full international bow.
The ball-winning defensive midfielder has a great positional sense, and is certainly not shy in the tackle. Standing at 6ft 3in, Irvine also has an impressive heading ability.
This, coupled with a great understanding with County striker Liam Boyce, means Irvine could be the man to lead the Dingwall club to their first Scottish League Cup title.