Alan Combe speaks on living the dream at Hibs, joining Cove Rangers and Easter Road goalkeepers

Alan Combe spent six years as goalkeeping coach at his boyhood heroes HibsAlan Combe spent six years as goalkeeping coach at his boyhood heroes Hibs
Alan Combe spent six years as goalkeeping coach at his boyhood heroes Hibs
Six years is a long time for a footballer to spend at one club these days, never mind a coach.

Yet Alan Combe managed it at Hibs, arriving at the club following relegation to the Championship in the summer of 2014 with just two teenage goalkeepers on the books and a huge rebuild in progress.

Six seasons later the boyhood Hibee had tasted Scottish Cup glory, a title win, promotion, a host of Edinburgh derby victories, and some of the most memorable European nights since AEK Athens in 2001, or Liverpool in 1975.

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The former Kilmarnock, Dundee United, St Mirren, and Bradford No.1 insists he had a “dream job” at Easter Road.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, Combe said: "I travelled two and a bit hours both ways to get into my work. Six o'clock in the morning, not getting home until seven, seven thirty at night but it was a dream job, and I wish everyone at the club all the best.

"I gave a lot to it: the Academy; the youth team – I think I missed two games in six years, so I've been here, there, and everywhere, all over the country.

"I'm happy and proud with what I did. I lived the dream. I never got the chance to play for the club, but I got the next best thing.

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"I still managed to put the jersey on for 10, 15 development team games and coming out of retirement at 44 to play some games was great."

For a Hibs fan, there can surely only be one real highlight of the past few years?

"The Scottish Cup is the obvious stand-out, and the parade; winning the actual final, promotion, Europe and the night against Asteras Tripolis - beating them was unbelievable. The fans were monumental that night, it's something that'll stay with me.”

Last month, the 46-year-old joined up with League One newcomers Cove Rangers - his fifth coaching role after Alloa, St Johnstone, Hearts, and Hibs.

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Combe continued: “There were three or four things that were of interest to me but when I got the call from Paul Hartley to say his goalie coach had left I felt that as I'd worked with him before, and Cove is a club on the up, it suited my circumstances.”

The recent relationship between the Easter Road side and shot-stoppers has been strained at times. How much pressure was there to get the right men between the sticks?

Combe said: "When I first arrived there were just two young lads [Sean Brennan and Kleton Perntreou] so we had to make signings. The young lads unfortunately didn't push on and left the club but overall things have been better.

“We had some great goalkeepers at Hibs during my time. Ofir [Marciano] has been in great form this year and before; Adam Bogdan was fantastic when he came in; we brought in Conrad Logan, now and forever a legend and Mark Oxley, for a young lad, did well in difficult circumstances.

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"I think the club has been in a good place with goalkeepers over the last four or five years.

"I’d love to say it was all down to me, but I’d never do that. I think Hibs have done well in terms of getting the right guys in.”

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