The waiting game is finally over for Dan Carmichael. Three years after a scintillating performance against the Easter Road outfit prompted talk of a move to the Capital, he’s become a Hibs player – boss Alan Stubbs’ third signing in little more than 24 hours.
Carmichael was at the heart of a Queen of the South side, then a League One club, which humiliated Pat Fenlon’s SPL stars by knocking them out of the League Cup.
The winger terrorised Fenlon’s players, wreaking havoc on the right flank, instrumental in the first-half goals scored by Nicky Clark and Gavin Reilly and giving Pa Kujabi and Callum Booth such a torrid time neither appeared for the second 45 minutes.
Such was Queens’ performance that Irishman Fenlon admitted there were “one or two” for whom he might return to Palmerston Park in search of their signatures.
It all came to nothing as far as Carmichael was concerned, although Clark’s 38 goals that season did earn him a move to Rangers.
But now he’s delighted his patience has paid off, claiming it was “a given” when he heard of Stubbs’ interest even although he was aware Premiership sides were also on his trail.
The 24-year-old said: “There was some speculation a few years ago linking me with Hibs because I played well against them in a League cup tie when we won 2-0.
“I remember we did well that night.”
Doing well against Hibs appears to have been a major factor in Stubbs’ move, the head coach admitting he’d been impressed by his latest signing every time he had seen him last season, James Fowler’s men racking up an notable record of two wins, a draw and three clean sheets when confronted by the Capital side.
And Carmichael agreed, saying: “When I was at Queens we seemed to raise our game against Hibs and it was always hard to play against them.
“Queens made it hard for Hibs last season, though, and we did well against them in the matches.
“This is a great opportunity and I want to say thanks to the manager for giving me this chance.
“I was just delighted to get the contract signed and to come to a massive club like Hibs. As soon as Hibs came calling, I knew where I wanted to go and I could not get it sorted quick enough. I am just delighted to get the deal done and to be here at last as I want to show what I can do on a bigger stage.
“Growing up, I was aware of Hibs being a big club in Scottish football and I always noticed their results.
‘A club of this size should be looking to get promoted and just to be involved in something like that would be great.
“If all goes to plan then I will be involved in the Premiership with Hibs.
“I want to play in the top flight – that’s natural for any player. There was some interest in me from Premiership teams but, as soon as Hibs came calling, it was a given for me to sign for them.
“Speaking to the manager as well only helped influence and sway my decision. The manager is a positive person and very attack-minded, which suits me.
“I met him face-to-face and he showed me round the training facilities, which are great, and hopefully it will improve me as a player.
“The players that Hibs have here are great and the brand of attacking football they play is an added attraction and that will suit me down to the ground.”
Carmichael recognised, though, that competition for places is going to be tough, a fact underlined by the arrival in quick succession of himself and former Hamilton and Hearts striker James Keatings while midfielder Fraser Fyvie had earlier committed himself to another two years at Easter Road.
He said: “There will be places up for grabs and players won’t like being on the bench and that will give the manager a selection headache but that is a good thing.
“With decent players coming in that just strengthens the squad.”
And, although Rangers will once again be favourites to take the Championship title and automatic promotion to the top flight, Carmichael insisted the presence of the Ibrox club won’t affect Hibs’ chances of going up, revealing he felt his new side should have done so in the season just ended.
He said: “I don’t think Rangers staying in the Championship will affect our chances of being promoted next season.
“Rangers will be challenging for the Championship title next season.
‘Hibs know what we can do with the players we have at this club and we are well capable of winning the league and that is our aim. Hibs have great players in both defence and attack but, going forward, I think we are the best footballing side in the league and we will be well up there challenging because of that. Hibs were unlucky not to go up last season but we are a quality outfit and hopefully we can go one further and get promotion.
“That’s why I didn’t bother with the result in the play-off final between Motherwell and Rangers.
“In terms of glamour, then people will see that Hibs and Rangers are in the Championship again and the fans will love that.
“We will just concentrate on ourselves and winning games.”
After five years and more than 180 games for his hometown club, Carmichael admitted it was a huge wrench to leave the Doonhamers, just one of several to be moving on with Reilly on Hearts’ radar, left back Kevin Holt having committed himself to Dundee, Ian McShane to Ross County while goalkeeper Zander Clark has returned to St Johnstone on completion of his loan deal. He said: “I’d like to thank Queens as they have done a lot for me and, if it wasn’t for them, I would never have got this opportunity.
“It is sad to see the break up of the Queens team that finished fourth last season and a lot of boys did well but it was kind of accepted that a lot of the team would move on to bigger and better things. Queens will get new players in and I am sure they will be fine.”