Scott Robertson is confident former midfield colleague Scott Allan won’t disrupt the harmony in the Hibs dressing-room if his desire to move to Rangers doesn’t come to fruition.
The Easter Road talisman officially informed his club yesterday that he wishes to leave and join for Rangers, who have been actively pursuing his signature over the past week.
Hibs, whom he is contracted to until next summer, have vowed to stand firm in the face of overtures from their main Championship title rivals, with many speculating that Allan will throw the proverbial toys out the tram and upset the strong team spirit Alan Stubbs has generated over the past year.
However, Robertson, who has played with Allan at both Dundee United and Hibs, believes that there will be no such problems and is adamant that, if the Easter Road board stick to their guns, the 23-year-old can still be as effective for them as he was last season.
“Whatever the outcome, someone’s going to be left disappointed,” said Robertson, discussing the saga with the Evening News. “But I honestly think Scott will be able to get over it if he’s denied his move. Initially, he’ll be disappointed, especially if he’s really got his heart set on going to Rangers. But he’s a professional and he’s the type of guy who’ll be able to look to the long term and say ‘OK, I’m here for one more year, I might as well make the most of this’. He’ll get his head down and do his best for Hibs, who are his employers, and he’ll have no shortage of suitors at the end of it.
“I know how well everyone got on last season and they’re such a good group of guys that I don’t think this will cause any kind of divide. I know the way he’s treated at Easter Road and East Mains, where he’s very highly thought of, so it won’t take long for him to get over the disappointment of not getting his move. He’s just had his first child and he’s at a good club. He’s got a lot of things to be happy about.”
In ordinary circumstances, a player who hands in a transfer request usually gets their wish. However, Hibs’ predicament is complicated further as Rangers are their direct title rivals while they are also still building broken bridges with a fanbase who have long since grown fed up seeing their best players sold off. Robertson, having been at Hibs for two-and-a-half years, has a good grasp of their plight, but can also empathise with Allan.
“It’s the nature of modern football that these situations arise,” he said. “It’s different to most other fields of work because there’s so much emotion involved on both sides. It’s not just about business. Everyone in the game knows that you can’t always get exactly what you want.
“It’s not a great situation for Hibs to have to deal with but if their focus is that he’s staying and they stick to that, then there’s not much more Scott can do. He will just have to get his head round that and focus on getting promotion with Hibs. The main thing for him is that he just focuses on having a good season wherever he’s playing and if he can reproduce what he did last season, then he will have bigger clubs than Rangers after him. I’ve got sympathy with Scotty. Having supported them as a child, I understand his ambition is to play for the club. He’ll be worried that this might be the only opportunity he gets to play for him, but, whatever happens this season, I’m sure there will be a number of clubs – Rangers included – after his signature at the end of it. Alan Stubbs [Hibs’ head coach] has said he’s going nowhere and, if they can stick with that stance right to the end of the transfer window, I think that would be really good for the fans and they would respond by really getting behind the club.”
Hibs’ midfield was widely viewed as the strongest department of their team last season, with Robertson, Allan, Dylan McGeouch, Liam Craig and Fraser Fyvie all vying for a regular slot. If Allan was to leave, it would mean Fyvie would be the only one of that quintet remaining at Easter Road.
“We had the nucleus of a really good midfield between the five of us who were playing regularly,” said Robertson, who recently signed for Romanian side FC Botosani after leaving Hibs at the end of last season. “There was a really nice mixture of experience and youthful exuberance and if you lose four out of five from any position, then it’s going to be hard to try and match what you did the previous season. Obviously Scott Allan was the standout among us and he’s the key to what Hibs are trying to do.”