Axed Hearts teenager Fraser Mullen was today poised to complete a shock move to Capital rivals Hibs only weeks after being shown the door at Tynecastle.
The 19-year-old was undergoing a medical having fractured his foot – ironically in a derby clash with Hibs at Easter Road in March which ruled him out of the Scottish League Cup final against St Mirren and ended his season – with a view to agreeing a 12-month contract.
Although Mullen found himself a victim of Hearts’ cost-cutting, told he wouldn’t be offered a new deal in mid-May, it is understood the Glasgow-born youngster has been on the radar of Hibs boss Pat Fenlon for some time, his release triggering a move by the Irishman.
At present, Fenlon only has Tim Clancy, who found himself struck down by a succession of injuries last season, as a recognised right back although veteran defender Alan Maybury is hoping to clinch a new contract after he played 32 matches in the last campaign culminating in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic.
However, while a clutch of youngsters ended the season by forcing their way into Fenlon’s plans, he sees right back as the one position for which he doesn’t have an emerging contender, hence his move for Mullen who played ten first-team matches in a maroon shirt, his debut coming in the narrow Scottish Cup win over Ayrshire Junior side Auchinleck Talbot in which then Hearts boss Paulo Sergio named him as his man of the match despite the youngster missing a penalty.
Mullen will add to the recruitment of Liam Craig and Owain Tudur Jones from St Johnstone and Inverness Caley respectively while Ryan McGivern has also agreed a two-year deal having spent last season on loan with Hibs from Manchester City.
Fenlon, though, is continuing his drive to add further new faces with, he hopes, a new striker and possibly a further defender being added before Hibs
begin their Europa League campaign against either Irish outfit Drogheda or Malmo of Sweden in the middle of next month.
He said: “There are a lot of positives here at Hibs right now – the European games are another reason for everyone to be upbeat ahead of the new season. I believe our supporters can see that the team is heading in the right direction, we’re
determined to push on and drive forward as a group.
“Right now we are actively trying to strengthen the squad by adding quality players.”
Meanwhile, Fenlon pronounced himself satisfied with the prospect of playing either Drogheda – a side he knows well of course from his years playing and managing in Ireland – or Malmo. He said: “It’s not a bad draw from a logistical point of view. Our worst case scenario would’ve been to travel halfway around the world for one of the games.
“Drogheda are a decent side and one that I know very well indeed and I also know their manager [Mick Cooke] very well. But Drogheda have a very tough tie against Malmo who are a quality European side with a great pedigree. The fact they are Sweden’s most successful club tells its own story.”
Meanwhile, Liam O’Brien, who has been first-team coach with Hibs since Fenlon became manager 19 months ago, is set to leave in the wake of
Jimmy Nicholl’s appointment as assistant manager.