'A big step up but he will rise to the challenge' - John McGlynn speaks on why Kevin Nisbet can thrive at Hibs
John McGlynn watched Kevin Nisbet score goals for fun for Raith Rovers and earn a move to Dunfermline where he did the same – now he expects the 23-year-old to pick up where he left off for a third time.
Hibs pulled off something of a transfer coup yesterday when they announced the signing of Nisbet on a four-year deal for a reported six-figure transfer fee, with the arrivals of free agents Drey Wright and Alex Gogic confirmed as well on a busy day for the club.
Nisbet scored 34 goals for the Stark’s Park outfit in just one season in Kirkcaldy, with 29 of those strikes coming in league matches. His prowess in front of goal earned him a move up a league to East End Park where he hit 23 goals in 32 games before the season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.
Return to Easter Road
The former Partick Thistle youngster has stepped up again with his return to Easter Road, having spent time on the club’s books as a youth, but McGlynn believes the forward can take it in his stride.
"It is a step up to the Premiership, but Kevin did really well at Raith Rovers to get the number of goals he did. He then stepped up to the Championship and did remarkably well at Dunfermline to score as many goals as he did at that level, so he's taken that challenge on and probably exceeded it,” he told the Evening News.
“He's been on fire the last two seasons, he has that momentum and his confidence is flowing
"The defenders in the Premiership will make it a lot harder for him than the guys in League One and the Championship but at the same time Kevin is a very, very good football player.
"You always look at a striker by his goals-scored column, and in the last two seasons you can only be impressed by Kevin's numbers and I think he will feel he's ready for that next challenge.”
Nisbet already has top-flight experience with the Jags, having played 17 matches for the Firhill side between 2014 and 2018, but he failed to find the net and spent time on loan with East Stirlingshire, Ayr United, and Dumbarton.
‘Hibs are a good fit’
Despite his relatively tender years, the Glasgow-born is on his seventh senior club – a reflection of his career trajectory.
McGlynn added: “I think this move has come round very quickly for him but he's been improving quickly and he's now on the big stage, in Scotland terms, and it's up to him now to go and showcase what he's got on a bigger stage with Hibs.
"Hibs are a good fit for him. I think the way Jack Ross plays will suit him, I think they'll be an attack-minded team and they'll create opportunities, and Kevin has shown that he can score goals.
"I don't doubt that he can do it at that level, I think he'll rise to the challenge.
"It is a step up, and it's a change of club again, which hasn't really done him any harm in the last few seasons. He's only 23 but he's been to a few clubs so stepping into another club probably won't phase him.
‘A good partner for Doidge’
"A bigger stage, bigger crowds, and playing in front of 50, 60,000 in Glasgow might actually bring out the best in him."
Nisbet will link up once more with his former Raith team-mate Jamie Gullan. The young Hibs forward had two spells on loan at Stark’s Park and played alongside his new Easter Road team-mate in the second half of the 2018/19 season. Nisbet could also be a good partner for Welshman Christian Doidge, in McGlynn’s eyes.
"I think it's a sweet bit of business by Jack to bring Kevin in. Obviously Hibs are looking for strikers and I think he would be a good partner for Doidge.
"But it’s very much up to Kevin now to go there and hit the ground running and if he does, anything after that is possible.
"If he doesn't get up and running very quickly then wee doubts might start to creep in, as they do with any striker, but when he's been in the sort of form he has, getting another move with all the adrenaline, the excitement, and the enthusiasm being there, he'll be flying.”