They’ve been team-mates together before and could have been lining up alongside each other again in the green and white of Hibs.
But tonight Richie Towell and Cillian Sheridan will be the best of enemies as they face up to one another in tonight’s rearranged SPL clash at Easter Road.
The pair, who both hail from the Republic of Ireland, are the best of pals since their days together at Celtic but for a couple of hours at least that friendship will be put to one side.
Towell, of course, is back for a second spell on loan in the Capital while Sheridan has taken a more circuitous route via Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia to rejoin opponents St Johnstone on a similar deal.
That journey, though, involved a detour via Edinburgh with Sheridan enjoying a period on trial under the watchful eye of Colin Calderwood before opting for a return to McDiarmid Park.
And having broken a nine-match goal drought to score twice, ditching Hearts in Perth at the weekend, Towell is well aware Sheridan will be looking to make it a Capital double as Hibs and the Saints play “catch-up” with their SPL rivals, the original fixture having been postponed to allow Calderwood’s side to take on English Premier League outfit Sunderland in an early-season friendly.
Dublin-born Towell said: “Cillian will be like a buzz-bomb after getting those goals but hopefully we’ll be able to keep him out.
“We were at Celtic together, when I first came over he was still eligible to play for the youth team but, because he was a couple of years older, he was pushed on that bit quicker, playing for the first team in Champions League matches against the likes of Manchester United. I actually bumped into Cillian the other week when we were both on a flight back from Dublin, I’d been away with our Under-21s and he’d had a couple of days off.
“We actually spoke about the fact we could have found ourselves playing together again for Hibs. Cillian said he really enjoyed his time here but unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
Calderwood opted for Junior Agogo rather than Sheridan, the Ghana international arriving to join a strikeforce which now contains Garry O’Connor, Akpo Sodje and Leigh Griffiths.
And it is that firepower which convinces 20-year-old Towell that Hibs can soon put their current troubles behind them, O’Connor having already claimed eight goals this season while Agogo got off the mark in claiming the equaliser in Saturday’s dramatic 3-3 draw against Dundee United.
He admitted, however, that he and his team-mates haven’t fully enjoyed the fruits of their strikers’ labours as they’ve conceded as many goals as they have scored over the course of a four game unbeaten run.
He said: “I think we have taken one step in the right direction in that we have not been beaten this month. We had to start somewhere but now we have to start turning those draws into victories.
“The league, outwith the Old Firm, is so tight that if we win this game in hand tonight we’ll be just three points off fourth place. The season so far has been very unpredictable, every Saturday night you look at the results and see a strange one.
“I think we have been playing reasonably well, we’ve been scoring goals and the crowds, I think, have been entertained.
“I think everyone can see how we want to play our football and create chances but we have been conceding far too many goals. We haven’t been able as a back four and goalkeeper to keep clean sheets and we have to work hard at cutting out the silly mistakes. A clean sheet gives you a great chance of winning and with the players we have in the side we are well capable of scoring in any match.”
Towell is well aware of the much-highlighted fact that Hibs haven’t won an SPL match at Easter Road since dumping Inverness Caley 2-0 at the end of February, but he insisted the one thing he and his team-mates can’t be accused of is lacking fight.
Pointing to the way in which they fought back from 3-1 down to snatch a point against United at the weekend, he said: “I think the fans can see that every day on the training ground we are working our hardest to play good football and get the wins.
“I think we showed character in that last game. A lot of teams might have been tempted to let their heads drop when they went 3-1 down but we got behind each other and went looking for a goal. Once we got it everyone looked hungry for another and we got it little more than a minute later.”
St Johnstone, though, will arrive in Edinburgh on the back of a run of seven matches unbeaten spoiled only by their Scottish Communities League Cup defeat by St Mirren, a record which stretches back to the day a Dave Mackay goal was enough to beat Celtic in Glasgow.
Towell was there to witness that shock first hand, the game coming just days before he headed back to Easter Road. He said: “It was a great result for them. They have quality in their team and we’ll have to be at our best to take care of them.
“They’ve also started scoring a few goals and matching them up with clean sheets which makes them difficult to beat.”
However, should Hibs finally get that long-awaited home win, Sheridan can be assured his old pal will be the first on the phone. Towell said: “I’ve been tempted to text Cillian this week but I think I will wait until after the game.
“I’ll be straight on with a text if we win but I can just imagine the look on his face if he manages a goal against us.”