Anyone who knows Ryan Porteous well will understand that he would do just about anything for his football club.

The defender has put his body on the line countless times for Hibs, sometimes to his own detriment. Playing through the pain barrier to ensure his side have the best opportunity of winning any match he's involved in. A noble sentiment, but perhaps not always the wisest decision for his long-term.

After undergoing knee surgery last season, forcing him to sit out the majority of Hibs' campaign, Porteous acknowledges his own stubbornness. An aspect of his game that he can see, now, that may not be in his best interest. He remembers the moment he realised it all too well.

"In the Livi game as well we started 2-0 down and were trying to get back into it," he told H&T Sport. "I think the gaffer had made all three subs as well. The adrenaline comes to you as well but you learn from it. So it probably won't happen again.

"When you tear your meniscus it feels like your kneecap is popping out. I didn't look at it but the physio said at the time, 'There's no way it's popped out'. It's just the way it feels, though it's just a tear in a bit of the cartilage.

"I think everyone who knows me through football will know that I'd play through just about anything. When your meniscus is injured it's sore, but when it pops back in you don't feel it all and can play on. Obviously you shouldn't, but if I'm saying I'm fine to the physio, they're not going to take me off. I would play through anything, stupidly. When it happened again against Dundee United I came right off straight away."

Porteous is as honest as the day is long, which is why during our short but detailed conversation he does not shirk from admitting he has found rehab difficult. There are always worries and nagging thoughts in the back of a footballer's mind after coming through a serious injury.

The 21-year-old, though, is hopeful the worst is behind him. He's desperate to return to the fold for Jack Ross's side with the new season scheduled to kick-off at the beginning of August. "It's been quite tough but I couldn't really come back any more unfit than I was," he added. "I was on the brink of returning to training, fully running, so being away was just doing the fitness programs that the physios were going to do with me anyway, but doing them alone.

"It was tough mentally to try and keep motivated and disciplined but ultimately the goal was to come back to dive right back into training and I think I've done that. Whenever the season starts I should be able to go. Touch wood there's no niggling injuries on the back of my knee injury. Sometimes when you come back everything else can be sore other than the knee, but hopefully it all goes to plan."

Porteous has reason to be optimistic. He has reason to be confident, too. Despite a poor start to last season under Paul Heckingbottom, manager Jack Ross appeared to steady the ship at Easter Road and bring back some sort of style before the shutdown that the club hadn't seen before Christmas.

They were unable to break the top six, but Ross now has a pre-season to work with. Porteous reckons that's exactly what the players need as they aim, in his words, to 'get back to where they belong'. The defender is talking, of course, about European football. The spot occupied by Stephen Robinson's impressive Motherwell last term.

"Hibs are one of the biggest clubs in Scotland outwith the Old Firm and we've got to be up there," he said. "The start of last season was nowhere near as good as it should've been and that's cost us. We threw away two goal leads here and there and, ultimately, dropped points when we shouldn't have.

"If we try and become a bit more organised and make more of the games, we can start climbing the table and be where we should be, really. If you look at our performances against the teams who are sitting in the European places just now, Aberdeen and Motherwell, I don't think there was one game I played in that either of them got the better of us.

"We went to Aberdeen and drew 1-1, we had the chances but didn't take them. We played Motherwell at home and beat them. We've got a good enough squad, I just think the consistency needs to be there."