After four years of living a nomadic existence which has taken him from Dundee to Edinburgh via various destinations in the southern half of England, Scott Allan admits he is just delighted to be able to call Easter Road home.
And he believes the stability offered by a two-year contract with Hibs will help him recapture the form which persuaded now England boss Roy Hodgson to part with £300,000 to take him from Dundee United to West Brom.
Allan was still only a teenager when he made that move, one which did not work out as planned as he was sent out on loan to Portsmouth, MK Dons, Portsmouth again and, finally, Birmingham before Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs snapped him up.
The fact he arrived as a free agent was seen as something of a coup for the Capital club.
So far the 22-year-old has only shown glimpses of the obvious potential he possesses but, he believes, his performance in Monday night’s 3-1 victory over Rangers at Ibrox was more like his old self with the promise of much more to come.
He said: “I’ve had a bit of catching up to do because I didn’t get a full pre-season under my belt. Apart from Portsmouth, where I played every week and enjoyed it, the rest of my time in England I didn’t get that, so the stability every player needs had gone.
“So it’s good to be home and enjoying my football again and hopefully I can get my career back on track. I felt I really worked hard at Ibrox. It was good to be part of a team fighting for every ball. A lot of people don’t think I have that in my game but I think I showed on Monday night that I can do that side of things.
“I like to think I come alive in big games. Now I am hoping to take my form from that match and build a bit of consistency.”
Given Hibs’ indifferent start to the season, the victory against Rangers, clinched by three goals in a stunning 13-minute period in the first half, was seen by many as a shock result although Allan revealed that, as did many of his team-mates, he felt before kick-off they would be departing Govan with something to show for their efforts.
The fact the match was shown live on television will, he believes, convince many that Stubbs’ claims that Hibs had not been enjoying the results their performance merited were not far off the mark.
He said: “I felt if we went there and applied ourselves we’d get something from the game. We put on a great performance, the back three were rock solid and that gave us the platform to do our stuff in midfield.
“We’d expected Rangers to come at us in the second half and although they pulled one goal back I think we looked quite comfortable.
“We might even have scored another one or two. We felt we should have had a penalty and Alex Harris had a decent chance late on. We weren’t really troubled, but now we have to get on a run of games where we are picking up three points every week to get ourselves right back into things.
“We’ve been dominating games without really getting our just rewards. We didn’t deserve too much from the Alloa and Queen of the South matches but against Falkirk and in the derby we felt we should have had at least a point.
“But the win against Ross County in Dingwall was a big result and we managed to keep the momentum going at Ibrox.”
Now, the trick is to keep on an upward trajectory with tomorrow’s match against Raith Rovers and the visit of Dumbarton next weekend giving Stubbs’ players the chance to do that.
Allan said: “We can’t come off such a high as beating Rangers at Ibrox only to fall flat on our faces tomorrow.
“It’s all about building on these last two results. Monday night’s win took us from second bottom to fifth and three more points tomorrow will take us up again.”
Having said that, however, Allan admitted he is anticipating a totally different game against the Kirkcaldy club who, one would anticipate, will look to frustrate Hibs and be far less open than were Ally McCoist’s side.
He said: “A lot of teams have come to Easter Road and done that, getting nine and ten men behind the ball, but it’s up to us when that happens to find a way to unlock them. It’s about having patience on the ball, making the right passes when they are there to create and then, hopefully, take the chances that come our way.
“We have to stamp our authority on the game, dominate it and get the three points, no doubt about it.”
Despite their win against Rangers, Hibs remain ten points behind arch-rivals Hearts who, as Championship leaders, probably enjoyed their neighbours’ success in Glasgow almost as much as Stubbs’ players did themselves, the result leaving them with a comfortable six-point cushion over the Ibrox side who started the season as title favourites, although the bookies have since re-evaluated that assessment.
Allan, though, is confident that over the next eight days that gap can be reduced, pointing to the fact Robbie Neilson’s team now face back-to-back matches on surfaces alien to them, namely the plastic pitches at Palmerston Park and Recreation Park.
He said: “To be fair, Hearts have been doing very well, but now they have a couple of tricky ones on astro.
“We’ll see how they fare, but as far as we are concerned we just have to go about our own business in the right way, pick up the points and we’ll see how things stand after that.”