A Melrose teenager has taken the massive step into Scottish professional football by signing a full-time contract with Easter Road giants Hibernian FC.
Lewis Allan, 17, began his football career at the age of four and progressed to Earlston Rhymers Boys’ Club.
Having always had big ambitions, however, Lewis went for a trial with Hibs at the age of eight and has never looked back since.
“I don’t have many memories of playing football in the Borders, to be honest, as I never really played much down here,” he told The Southern.
“I have received assistance from the Borders Athlete Support Programme, though, which has contributed to where I am at today – and that is something I am truly grateful for.”
Despite having been part of the Edinburgh outfit’s youth set-up, Lewis wasn’t always a Hibee.
“I was a Rangers fan growing up,” he admitted, “but I’m far more interested in Hibs results and Hibs being successful now.
“David Beckham has always been my role model. You just have to look at how successful he’s been and what a great career he had. He was the complete professional.”
Lewis, a former Earlston High School pupil, still lives at his family home in Melrose along with twin brother, Sam, and 18-month-old brother Kaden. And it was his mum Sandra who was the one to break the news of his new contract.
“I was down at the 3G at Netherdale with my mates and my mum called me and told me that I had been offered a contract. It was just a dream come true,” he said.
“It means the world to me because it’s all I want to do, but obviously it’s very hard and very few are lucky enough to actually make it. I will now have to work very hard to ensure I’m offered another contract in two years’ time.”
Lewis will continue to play in the Hibs under-20s, but intends to work his way into a place in Alan Stubbs’ Championship outfit, where the prospect of matches against derby rivals Hearts and the fast-rising Rangers are only too real.
“I have to earn the right to play in the first team, so I have to be successful in the under-20s team, which for me means playing well and scoring goals,” he added.
“I’m looking forward to playing all the teams. I played a few games last season when I was part-time against Dunfermline, Inverness and Kilmarnock.
“This year, I look forward to playing against Hearts, as I’ve never played them at under-20 level before, and Rangers and Celtic as well.”