Alan Stubbs believes the experience and ball retention of Kevin Thomson can enhance Hibs’ hopes of league and cup glory.
The 31-year-old is close to finalising a deal to return to Easter Road for a third time, with an official announcement due imminently.
Stubbs moved to land Thomson after it emerged last week that he had extricated himself from his contract at Dundee, where he had been club captain for 18 months. The former Rangers, Middlesbrough and Scotland midfielder will be signed as a player at Hibs, with additional coaching duties within the club’s academy.
Thomson, who has been dogged by injuries at various points in his career, played only 12 times this season prior to his Dens Park exit. However, Stubbs believes he will prove a useful addition to a Hibs side who are chasing promotion to the Premiership while also still in both the League Cup and the Scottish Cup.
“Kevin can bring a lot of experience to a youngish dressing room at such an important part of the season,” the head coach told the Evening News. “Obviously, he is not in a position where he’s going to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday – you only have to look at his record to see that’s not going to happen. But we have plenty of legs in the team. Kevin may not be able to get round the pitch as much as he used to, but he is a very talented player with an ability to keep the ball.”
Thomson began his career at Hibs and impressed under Tony Mowbray and John Collins before earning a lucrative move to Rangers nine years ago. He returned to Easter Road in March 2013, when Pat Fenlon was in charge, and spent just over a year at the club before leaving in the wake of the club’s relegation under Terry Butcher. His third spell as a Hibs player will incorporate the fledgling stages of his coaching career. “It’ll be a bit of both,” said Stubbs, when asked what his role will involve. “His thoughts are still on playing but he’s also thinking a bit about coaching. It’s still very early days in his coaching but we’ll look to introduce him lower down in the academy and let him learn and gain experience. He is halfway through his A badge, that’s something he will complete next summer and that’s the next chapter for him.” Stubbs has no concerns about Thomson’s fitness levels although it remains to be seen if he will be included in the squad for Saturday’s match at home to St Mirren. “Since he’s come in this week, he’s been training,” said Stubbs. “Fitness-wise he’s available but he’s got to earn his way into the squad first.”
Stubbs doesn’t expect any more new arrivals this month. “I don’t envisage any more signings after Kevin – that’s us all done,” he said. That means Hibs will finish the season with Lewis Stevenson as their only recognised left-back after the recent departure of Adam Eckersley, whose four-month stint with the club was marred by injury problems. “We’re comfortable with the left-back situation,” said Stubbs. “We’ve plenty of cover right across the defence.
“We’ve got six defenders and a few of them can play different positions.”
Stubbs confirmed Hibs are set to bring in 19-year-old Strathspey Thistle forward Josh Peters on trial.