MIDFIELDER Ben Stirling is hoping to use a six-month loan spell at Arbroath to boost his chances of breaking into the Hibs first team.

The 21-year-old is yet to make his debut for the Easter Road club’s first team but has been named on the bench on a handful of occasions, including against Stirling Albion and Alloa Athletic in the first two games of the season.

Now, he is hoping to get games under his belt and push on for a place in Paul Heckingbottom’s plans.

He said: “It’s brilliant being involved with the first team – that is the team you want to play for.

“Hopefully, I will get some good experience in the first six months and come back to Hibs and then push for a first team place.

“I’m at Arbroath until January at the moment.”

Stirling, who was part of the Hibs side who faced Arbroath in pre-season, has been joined at Gayfield by fellow Hibee Josh Campbell.

They met the squad, which includes former Musselburgh Athletic duo Robert Wilson and Michael McKenna, last week, with the loan duo named on the bench for the victories over Alloa Athletic and Dunfermline Athletic. The temporary move also sees the former Aberlady Primary School and North Berwick High School pupil link up with one of the colourful characters of Scottish football, Dick Campbell.

Stirling, from Aberlady, said: “It’s been brilliant.

“Dick and Ian Campbell (Dick’s twin and assistant manager at Arbroath) have been brilliant with us so far.

“I just hope I can get the opportunity soon.

“I know it is going to be tough with the competition we have got for places at the moment but I’m patient enough to wait for a chance.

“Then, I need to grab it with both hands.”

Stirling, who can play central midfield or at right back, has already had two loan spells away from the Capital.

In 2016, he spent time with Berwick Rangers and the following season he featured on more than half a dozen occasions for Cowdenbeath.

Stirling told Courier Sport featuring for Arbroath in the Championship was a step up from those two previous times away from Easter Road.

He added: “You look at the league and there are the two Dundee sides [Dundee and Dundee United], there is Inverness Caledonian Thistle and even Dunfermline Athletic are a big club.

“They will be looking to go up and the manager has already said he wants us to stay in the league but we want to finish as high as possible.”

However, Stirling, who featured in Hibs’ recent 2-0 win over Tranent Juniors, was confident the Red Lichties could surprise a few teams along the way.

He said: “A lot of people have written us off.

“So far, you have seen in the first few results that it could be anyone to go down.”