Liam Fontaine today predicted Hibs boss Neil Lennon’s first two summer signings, Danny Swanson and Simon Murray, will prove to be big hits with the Easter Road support.
Admitting the pair differ greatly in style, Fontaine is adamant the creativity of midfielder Swanson allied to the workrate of striker Murray will add a new dimension to the Capital side as they return to the Premiership for the first time in three years.
And the defender insisted it was no surprise that Hibs had beaten off stiff competition from other top-flight clubs to entice the pair to Easter Road given the success he and his team-mates have enjoyed over the past two years in lifting the Scottish Cup and then winning the Championship title.
The former Bristol City skipper, who has just agreed a new contract which will extend his stay in Edinburgh to a fourth season, said: “When I came up to Hibs, what drew me was, firstly, that I knew they were such a big club up here and, secondly, I wanted to be part of something.
“I think players look at us at the moment, see we are on a good thing and that we are still on that incline. Whoever comes here will be joining a team that’s on a good thing and has a good vibe about it. It’s a great place to be, to play your football and develop.”
While Lennon has retained the vast bulk of his squad, he is determined to strengthen as he bids to ensure Hibs make an immediate impact in the top flight and Fontaine is convinced Swanson and Murray – who have both signed two-year deals and are expected to be followed by further signings – will play their part in doing so.
The 31-year-old said: “I think our recruiting over the years has been very good. I think Danny is going to be a great acquisition as will Simon. I’m looking forward to working and training with them. There’s going to be a lot of creativity coming from Danny and I think Simon is hard to play against because of his natural workrate.
“I think anyone who has watched Simon can see his commitment to the cause. I watched him play against Falkirk in the play-offs and he never stopped running for the 90 minutes. That stands him in great stead apart from the fact he scored 18 goals. That’s a lot for a striker and, if you are putting the ball in the back of the net, you are onto a good thing. He will develop at this squad with the players we have and the manager with his drive and what he wants to get out of his players.”
Murray will offer, admitted Fontaine, a different type of partner for top scorer Jason Cummings to that offered by veteran hitman Grant Holt, but he doesn’t see any reason why the pairing can’t be just as profitable.
He said: “To be fair, Holty put himself about last season and Jase reaped the rewards. Simon has a different way of putting himself about but, with the the aggression he has, the commitment to put himself in there and his workrate, he’ll win plenty of balls.
“I know from playing out there myself that the fans just want you to be committed. He’s that type of player. He’s one that will do well or we wouldn’t have signed him.”