John Robertson reveals he almost signed for Hibs after leaving Hearts in 1998
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However, the Tynecastle legend has revealed that he could have crossed the Edinburgh divide towards the end of his career after his time with the Jambos came to an end.
Speaking to the Scarves Around the Funnel podcast, Robertson detailed how he had discussions with then-Hibs boss Alex McLeish in the summer of 1998 after finally getting his first winner’s medal of his career as an unused substitute when Hearts defeated Rangers in the Scottish Cup final.
“The Hearts aspect was that I felt I could keep going, at least another year. But I’d been on the bench most of that season and been out on loan at Dundee,” he said. “[Manager] Jim [Jefferies] just felt it was the best time for me to leave, ‘you’ve won the cup, you’re on a high’.
“It wasn’t Aberdeen. Motherwell came in and Hibs came in.
“It was the little Finnish guy in charge of Motherwell at the time, Harri Kampman. Motherwell said, ‘look, we want to give you a deal but the manager wants you to come on trial for two weeks’. I was like I’m the leading Hearts goalscorer of all time. I’m 34, I don’t do trials. You either sign me or you don’t.
“At this point I got a phone call from Alex McLeish saying, ‘we want to sign you for Hibs. We’ve just been relegated to the Championship so there will be no crossover [with Hearts] would you like to come and talk to us’.
“I asked Alex what they were offering. He told me and I said, ‘right, go and confirm that and if that’s the case we’ll have a chat with my agent and get back to you’.
“From what I heard he went away and Rod Petrie basically said no. We can’t sign him. It’d be the wrong person to sign. It won’t go down well with the fans.
“So I went through to become player-coach at Livingston.”