Jake Doyle-Hayes is hoping Hibernian can put the seal on their strong start to the season by going into the September international break as cinch Premiership leaders.
The Edinburgh side currently top the table on goal difference from Aberdeen and city rivals Hearts. If they beat bottom side Livingston at Easter Road on Saturday, Jack Ross’s team – who finished third last term – are likely to remain at the summit while the season takes a fortnight hiatus.
Irish midfielder Doyle-Hayes said: “We’re obviously trying to push as high up the table as we can so hopefully we can keep going as we’ve started.
“We had a draw last weekend so we’re looking to bounce back from that and get three points against Livingston.
“It’ll be a tough game but if we can go into the international break with 10 points from the first four games it would be great start. We need to be fully focused.”
Doyle-Hayes joined Hibs in the summer after impressing at St Mirren last season. He has swiftly established himself in the engine room, starting each of the team’s last five matches.
He said: “I’ve played quite a few games now for Hibs and I’m really enjoying it. The lads have all helped me settle in and as a team we’re doing well which makes it a lot easier.
“Even last season the team finished strongly so I was really happy to make the move here. It’s good to get in the team and help the team pick up a few wins along the way. I’ve had a good run of games and I’m feeling fit.
“I see my job at the moment as linking the play from the back to the front. I can try and get forward and chip in with a few goals. I haven’t scored a lot of goals but that’s something I’m going to try to bring into my game.”
Doyle-Hayes has played for Republic of Ireland at youth and under-21 level and the 22-year-old knows good form at Easter Road could help him earn involvement with the full squad.
He said: “Everyone wants to play for their country and if that comes, it comes, but I won’t put too much pressure on myself.
“Being at a club like Hibs definitely helps (earn international recognition) but I need to perform on the pitch and then hopefully that happens.”
Doyle-Hayes isn’t the only former St Mirren player impressing in the Easter Road midfield this term, with four-goal Kyle Magennis having been arguably their best player so far after struggling to impose himself in his first season in the capital.
Doyle-Hayes added: “Kyle has hit the ground running this season. When I was at St Mirren, Kyle had been there before me and I heard he was a really good player.
“He’s performing well and it’s great to play alongside him. He’s chipping in with goals as well which is a massive help for the team.
“Every day in training he stands out. He’s been really good so hopefully he can keep that going.”