Shaun Maloney thinks the Hibs faithful should have no problem welcoming Demetri Mitchell into the green half of Edinburgh after seeing the former Jambo fight for his capital return.
The 25-year-old spent 18 months on loan at Tynecastle from Manchester United but has now joined the Easter Road ranks after leaving Blackpool.
There’s still plenty of evidence of Mitchell’s Hearts’ connections on his social media accounts, but the Hibs PR team acted aggressively to prevent any of it from being held to extremes with a tongue-in-cheek Twitter video that makes light of his Gorgie’s past.
And Maloney, who has doled out a two-and-a-half-year contract to his newest recruit, is in no doubt that his Maroon loyalty is now a thing of the past after Mitchell’s big push for his Leith move.
The Hibs boss said, “Demetri’s attributes were something I wanted from the beginning when I got here.
“I was very happy that we got it done so quickly.
“For it to happen in this window, I’m pretty sure of that.
“In terms of his previous (clubs), I have no reservations about him playing for Hearts.
“Our fans have been very, very supportive of me since I’ve been here. I don’t see that being any different with any player.
“Demetri went to great lengths to come here.
“I respect Blackpool for the help they have given to get us through it in the last couple of days.
“But Demetri made it clear that he wanted to come here.”
Asked if he feared his new signing might come under additional pressure if he didn’t get off to a running start, Maloney added: “I think it’s a little harsh to assume that it might not start as well or it might be the reception.
“I understand that. I respect the history between the two clubs, but in terms of Demetri specifically, I have no concern that he will immediately settle with us in our group.
“He’s really committed so I’m not worried about him playing for Hearts previously and now signing with us for the next two and a half years.”
Mitchell is out of form so he is unlikely to start when Hibs travel west to face Motherwell at Fir Park on Wednesday night.
And Maloney admits that fans shouldn’t expect to see fellow January recruit Elias Melkersen make much of a contribution for some time, either.
The young Norwegian has finally been granted a work permit, but Maloney doesn’t want to rush the 19-year-old forward into playing too soon.
“It’s going to be a very slow process with Elias,” he said. “We are looking to develop it further over a period of time.
“That is not in the short term. We’ll build it with games from the B team and then eventually it’ll be available to the first team.”
Hibs can return to the European Premiership slots with a win at Lanarkshire.
“We understand that it’s a great game,” Maloney said. “Motherwell have obviously done very well and there is a reason why they are fit.
“It’s a great game, but there are still a lot of games to come.
“But it feels like a great game, but everyone has done it.
“We had exactly the same feeling when we played in Aberdeen: Aberdeen was ahead of us. When we played Dundee United, they were ahead of us.
“This feels very similar to those games.
“If we can perform like we did for a large part of those two games, hopefully it will be a positive result for us.”