Craig Sibbald reckons the season just passed has been his best campaign so far, since making his debut as a fresh-faced 16-year-old in a rain-lashed friendly with Hibs six years ago.
Almost 250 appearances later he’s picking up awards left right and centre, and adding goals to his game. Still hard to believe he’s just turned 22.
The latest award on the Sibbald shelf is this season’s Falkirk Herald Starshot. It’s a title he’s familiar with having picked it up two seasons ago, and only just being beaten to last year’s award by Will Vaulks.
There was barely any dispute over this term’s winner though and in a change to the regular format, fans had a much bigger say than usual.
“I didn’t realise the fans chose some of the games this season, that means a lot,” Sibbald said before correcting himself, “obviously it’s always good to get the three points from The Falkirk Herald too.
“Seeing the scores in the paper each week and getting the three stars is good recognition and it’s nice to know the fans have had an input.
“They voted me supporters player of the year too which is nice and I have felt myself I’ve had a good season.”
Sibbald’s own vote went to Myles Hippolyte though but the club’s in-house voting was just as comprehensive a win as the Starshot.
He’s weighed in with 10 goals this season, his best yet, and an excellent goal against Hibs set him on his way on the opening day of the league season.
“It was one of my better ones and even better because my brother is a Hibs fan. I always seem to do well against them.
“My target was double figures for the season, it was last year too but this year I made it.
“I think the key was simply taking my chances and continuing my runs a bit more to get into the box and on the end of things. It’s something I’ve worked on and it’s paid off.
“I hit ten with a good few weeks of the season left but I just couldn’t go one better, but ten is now the target to get by next season and build more goals into my game from there.”
As the goals have flowed so has the tattoo artist’s needle. There’s movie quotes and animals, all with specific meaning inked on his arms and legs, but so too is a football which obviously has particular significance to him.
It’s just at the top of his shin, a lot like Lionel Messi.
“I saw Messi had it and thought it was good. He’s my favourite player so that is a wee nod to him I suppose,” added Sibbald who still has room for more ink on one of his arms.
There’s not much room left in his awards cabinet though, but still space for some senior honours beside the Ramsdens Cup winner’s medal he took in his first full season.
Sibbald is a lot different from his top team debut in a home friendly against Hibs – a team he has regularly scored against since. His full debut came as a substitute in the Ramsdens Cup at Brechin City’s Glebe Park – a venue Falkirk will return to next season.
However, with his deal due to expire shortly, there is still a question mark over whether or not the midfielder will return to where it all began.
Regardless what happens it’s all change for Sibbald as flat-mate Danny Rogers has moved back to Aberdeen after his loan expiry.
“It’s a lot quieter now – and tidier too.
“They were all buzzing for me when I got the awards back at the flat. It wasn’t quite a clean sweep with Luke Leahy getting the goal of the season, but I’ll take it.
“With my own situation I’m just going to put it out my head, enjoy some time off on holiday and deal with it towards the end of the month when I’m back.”