Connor Young, Jack Brydon, and a comeback: 8 things we noticed as Hibs returned to pre-season training
Hibs returned to pre-season training on Monday as preparations began in earnest for the 2021/22 season.
Connor Young hit 13 goals in 12 games for Hibs Under-18s last season as the wee Hibees finished second in the table and the 16-year-old's efforts were rewarded with an invitation to participate in first-team training ahead of the team's return to East Mains.
The forward may get a chance to feature when Hibs take on his former loan side Civil Service Strollers on Friday.
An Under-18 team-mate of Young, Brydon also spent time on loan at Strollers before spending the second half of the season with Stenhousemuir. Still only 17, the centre-back impressed in the Warriors defence before returning to the Hibernian Training Centre. Highly-rated by the coaching staff at Hibs, Brydon is another player who could feature at Christie Gillies Park later this week and his continued involvement with the first team suggests there are hopes he could take a similar path to fellow centre-half Ryan Porteous.
Cadden back in training
The back injury suffered by Chris Cadden in late April robbed Hibs of the wingback’s energy on the flank for the latter part of the season. The former Motherwell man had been a welcome addition to the Easter Road squad in January and with a full pre-season under his belt his return to action could almost be like signing a new player.
Hibs will not want to rush the 24-year-old back too soon but his participation in training is a positive step.
Daniel Mackay’s move from Inverness Caledonian Thistle was signed, sealed, and delivered some weeks ago and he was already training with the team at East Mains. He is the only new signing this summer so far, aside from Jamie Murphy’s loan being made permanent.
Return of the loanees
Scott Allan, Stevie Mallan, and Jamie Gullan were all involved at East Mains yesterday following respective loan spells with Inverness CT, Yeni Malatyaspor, and Raith Rovers. Gullan scored four goals in 16 games at Stark’s Park last term and will be keen for greater involvement in the Easter Road first team this season while Mallan will hope to nail down a regular starting berth in the midfield.
Allan, meanwhile, could be the missing link in a Hibs midfield that just failed to click into gear at times last season.
A break for the internationalists
Martin Boyle, Alex Gogic, and Kevin Nisbet, who were in action for Australia, Cyprus, and Scotland earlier this month, have been given an extended break before returning for training. Boyle helped Australia to four wins in World Cup qualifying while Nisbet saw action at Euro 2020 as a substitute in all three of Scotland’s group games.
Gray the coach
Hibs announced on Monday that club captain David Gray would be hanging up his boots and moving into a first-team coaching role at Easter Road. The 33-year-old joined Jack Ross and John Potter as the players returned to training with the influential Gray helping to put the squad through its paces.
No questionable hair
This time last year when the Hibs players returned for pre-season training, barbers and hairdressers were closed as part of coronavirus restrictions. This year however, there are no lengthy barnets being flicked away from sweaty brows or hairbands employed by some of the more hirsute players – a sign that, at long last, some sort of normality may be returning to football.