Danny Swanson believes he’s ready to kick-start his Hibs career after coming through “the hardest year of my life”.
The lifelong Hibs fan admits his dream move to Easter Road hasn’t lived up to expectations, the midfielder blighted by injury while the impending High Court trial following the death of his best pal Shaun Woodburn, killed in an attack outside his father’s pub in Great Junction Street, also cast a shadow.
Today marks the first anniversary of that tragedy, the four-year sentence handed down to the former Bonnyrigg Rose player’s killer widely condemned for its leniency, and while Swanson will be in Dubai looking to take a short but complete break away from football, memories of Shaun won’t be far away.
The 31-year-old, who made his first start since September in the weekend draw with Kilmarnock, said: “It’s been the hardest year of my life, but it’s a new year. I’ve spoken about it enough. It’s been horrendous. I don’t want to forget about it, just use it in the right way.
“I don’t want to keep going on about it because everybody knows it has been tough, I’m going to try to use it right.
“Football does help, massively. But I’ve spoken to the manager, his door is always open and he’s helped me a lot. It sounds stupid but when I got injured it did get in the way, I was just thinking about all sorts of stuff.
“Football is the best job in the world but this is definitely a week to just turn off.”
Swanson and his wife travelled to the Middle East with team-mates Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley and their partners and, he insisted, he intends to totally forget about football before returning to join his team-mates in their winter training camp in Portugal.
He said: “I’m not doing anything at all, I’m completely forgetting about football for a week, then Portugal will be a big week for me.
“I’ll probably do a few bits in the gym but football is at the back of my mind at the moment. I’ll just completely shut off and then be raring to go in Portugal. It’s difficult to shut off but it’s something I need to do, for me and my wife.
“Hopefully there will be no football talk. It sounds silly but, personally, it’s something I need to do, I need to get away from it for a bit, and then come back raring to go.
“I don’t know what other players are like, but all I think about 24 hours a day is football and that does take it out of you mentally. Switching off completely is massive, switching off from everything, social media, things back home.”
Swanson firmly believes he will return for the Scottish Cup derby against Capital rivals Hearts at Tynecastle ready to, effectively, get his Hibs career under way.
“I would like to think so. Even though I started the season well, the injury came at a bad time. But the manager knows what I can do, that’s the important thing. I need to remember that.
“I’ve not got anything to prove to anyone. I just need to get back out there scoring goals.
“At the start it was all exciting. Now I’m here to do a job for Hibs, the job I’ve wanted to do my whole life.
“I’ll make sure I take the chance.”