Kevin Nisbet subdued since Hibs transfer headlines but it recalls a dressing room mystery I just couldn’t solve – Tam McManus


The daily newspapers always found their way into the Hibs dressing room.

Tabloids speculating on possible transfers and, ahem, the Daily Sport which would also be part of the reading material within our inner-sanctum.

They were always there, being passed around and at that time it was a mystery to me who was bringing them in but I soon solved that puzzle.

My old mate Garry O’Connor was being linked by massive clubs, his name would be all over the papers, Arsenal, Tottenham and even some of the big hitting foreign clubs.

It was a running joke, Garry would come each morning lapping it all up as more rumors about where he was going to grow.

Then one day the secret paperboy puzzle was solved, as I drove to training I spotted a guy wearing Hibs gear leaving a newsagent with a pile of papers under his arm. It was Big Gaz, he was smuggling them in as a one man PR machine.

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One morning he made my day.

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There it was, a bold headline on the back page of the Daily Record.

‘Man City in for McManus.’

I remember how I felt walking into training at Easter Road, high as a kite and with a swagger of a player going through a purple patch.

Kevin Nisbet would have had that same feeling last summer, speculating over a move to Celtic and having a few million pound bid knocked back from Birmingham.

My switch to City didn’t materialize either, a scouting entourage came to watch me play against Dunfermline and I had an absolute stinker. We lost 3-1, Craig Brewster tore us apart and not a word more about yours truly and a switch to Manchester.

A few years later I was linked with a move to Rangers alongside my team-mate at the time Ian Murray.

He would eventually sign on at Ibrox but on both occasions the speculation negatively impacted on me.

Did I perform poorly due to the pressure of being so close to a big move? Maybe.

I don’t know if that’s the case with Nisbet, only he can answer that, but since the Birmingham move fell flat, he’s not quite been the same player.

He’s showing signs of getting there, he has time on his side and he can get back to being linked with big moves again.

These stories can be hard to read, it can knock you a bit bandy, especially if the move doesn’t materialize.

Kevin Nisbet scores against Arbroath

I was delighted to see him score against Arbroath.

Nisbet has improved massively in his link-up play but it can improve and I was pleased to hear him say that Maloney wants him to be operating more inside the opposition box and between the two posts. He’s playing as the number nine and with Hibs playing with two wingers then he needs to be inside that box. He doesn’t need to come short as he’s backed up with some quality midfield players.

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He did something on Sunday which I’ve been demanding from him for weeks, he made his run across the front of a defender and his finish was immaculate. You can see he’s been struggling in front of goal but that must give him a lot of confidence.

Now he has to kick-on from this but I was pleased for him, it’s ended five games without a goal and I’ve been in that movie myself.

Hopefully he’s getting back to being that hungry young striker who first arrived at Hibs.

You can’t underestimate how big a win it was both for Shaun Maloney and for Hibs against Arbroath on Sunday.

Gayfield was where most pundits and punters were predicting there could be a shock, it’s why the TV cameras were there.

Hibs were excellent, it’s the best they’ve been under Maloney against a good side which posed more than a few problems.

We’ve had a small glimpse of what he’s trying to do, bits and bobs here and there but at the weekend his vision was clear.

There was no panic when they went a goal behind and ran out comfortable winners, it was 3-1 going on four or five.

The one negative was conceding after poor defending from a cross ball and that’s where they’ve struggled this season.

Nobody panicked, the ball was played out from the back and the two central midfielders Jake Doyle-Hayes and Ewan Henderson were excellent in particular. Sylvester Jasper and Demetri Mitchell brought pace to the side and both have the ability to go by people.

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That’s something they lacked so it was a really impressive performance which needs to be continued against Ross County on Saturday.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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