Busy Hibs still one signing short - and ready to gamble on late deal?

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Transfer State of Play: Monty in dire need of a centre-half

The magic half-hour between the transfer deadlines north and south of the Border could be frantic - with a capital F – for a Hibs team still seeking that final must-have acquisition in the January window. The mobile network providers covering East Mains may well have to boost all signals at about 11 pm on Thursday night.

Because, while Hibs have offloaded plenty of unwanted baggage and added three new faces to the squad, their entire season hinges on finding the defensive cornerstone capable of supporting Nick Montgomery’s major rebuild of the squad. Left with only one fit senior central defender for Wednesday night’s 3-0 trouncing by Rangers at Easter Road, and forced to utilise his second teenage right back of the season following a battlefield promotion for Kanayo Megwa, Montgomery thought he’d landed a centre-half on loan last week – only for the deal to fall apart within 24 hours, with moves further up the food chain prompting the player’s parent club to block the arrangement.  If club captain Paul Hanlon doesn’t recover from illness in time for Saturday’s trip to Kilmarnock, Hibs are one Will Fish injury away from having no senior centre backs available for a Scottish Premiership match.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

All of which gives you some indication of how far Riley Harbottle – signed on a three-year deal from Nottingham Forest by Lee Johnson last summer – had fallen down the pecking order before Montgomery sanctioned a six-month loan move to Colchester United earlier this week. Harbottle was just one of several players told to empty their lockers at East Mains. Goalkeeper Max Boruc has gone on loan to Arbroath and Allan Delferriere has joined Czech side MFK Vyskov for the rest of the season.

And, in a stark reminder of the sort of bold transfer market strokes that contributed to Hibs possessing such a patchwork squad, Emmanuel Johnson had the final six months of his contract written off after negotiations with the club. The winger/fullback joined Hibs through their “strategic partnership” with USL Championship side Charleston Battery – remember that? – in January of 2022 but didn’t progress beyond the Development Squad, spending most of his time loaned out to Edinburgh City and then Austin FC II in the MLS Next Pro League, the third tier of US soccer.

On the incoming front, Monty has invested a lot of personal capital in three players looking to resurrect careers gone awry. Certainly a very gutsy move by a manager in need of results.

Myziane Maolida is a former 10 million Euro man whose Bundesliga wages should have put him out of reach of Hibs. But Hertha Berlin, who had the former France Under-20 attacker playing for their second team in the German regional leagues, agreed to very favourable terms to give Maolida a crack at providing himself in Scotland on a six-month loan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Myziane Maolida struggled on his debut against Rangers.Myziane Maolida struggled on his debut against Rangers.
Myziane Maolida struggled on his debut against Rangers. | SNS Group

Emiliano Marcondes, a classic No. 10 who at least looked to possess a bit of adventure in his late cameo against Rangers, is another in search of salvation, having fallen right out of the picture at Premier League side Bournemouth. The Dane will see out the final half season of his contract on loan at Easter Road.

Former Tottenham prospect Luke Amos, meanwhile, hadn’t played any competitive football this season before being thrown on as a late sub against Rangers. The ex-QPR midfielder, who had been training with Spurs’ Under-23s before heading north on trial, has signed an 18-month contract. His arrival has cleared the way for Jimmy Jeggo’s probable return to his hometown of Melbourne, with Victory keen to pick him up for the remaining six months of his Hibs contract.

Finding his feet - Luke Amos was thrown straight into action.Finding his feet - Luke Amos was thrown straight into action.
Finding his feet - Luke Amos was thrown straight into action. | SNS Group

There’s been a lot of other activity. And a couple of trialists, like Leeds centre-half/right back Kris Moore, who didn’t do enough to impress. Yet still Hibs cannot locate one of the Holy Grails of football – a left-sided central defender who is dominant in the air, quick over the ground and comfortable with the ball at feet. Two out of three wouldn’t be bad.

Transfer window watchers of sufficient vintage will testify, of course, that plenty can happen over the closing days – even the final hours – of a mid-season market that encourages panic buying. This year could be especially fraught. In England, the deadline for registering signings is 11 pm on February 1. Scottish clubs have an extra 30 minutes to get deals over the line.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In that gap lies potential, for those willing to gamble on major English clubs unexpectedly finding themselves with an elite prospect – or experienced campaigner – in need of first-team football. But, with the stakes so high, dare Hibs leave it late?

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.