Demi Mitchell just glad to be back for Hibs as he reveals failed attempt to return for key games

Hibs wingback Demi Mitchell made his comeback from injury in the 1-0 defeat by Livingston – but admitted he had been targeting a quicker return to action.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 7:30 am

The 25-year-old was an 81st-minute replacement for Lewis Stevenson as he made his first appearance since February 13 but couldn’t affect the scoreline as Scott Pittman’s goal early in the second half was the difference, despite Hibs enjoying the bulk of possession and 18 shots on goal, albeit with none on target.

Although the result went the wrong way, the former Blackpool man was just glad to be making a contribution once again.

"It was good to be back out there; it's been a long time – coming up to three months – so for me to get back out before the end of the season was a big plus,” he said afterwards.

"It was very frustrating to miss some big games. I was out for longer than I expected.

"I had hoped to be back sooner but I'm back now and I just want to help the team have a strong end to the season.

"There were no set-backs; it just took a bit longer than expected, which sometimes happens with injuries."

Mitchell had hoped to be available for the double-header against former loan side Hearts and to try to help the Hibees secure a top-six berth and reach the Scottish Cup final.

Demi Mitchell replaced Lewis Stevenson against Livingston as he made his comeback from injury after nearly three months on the sidelines

In the end he wasn’t fit enough for either clash, with Hibs losing both fixtures and subsequently ending the season in the bottom half of the Scottish Premiership and without a shot at silverware or Europe.

"I was aiming to get back for those Hearts games, it was disappointing not to be able to help the team in that respect,” he added.

"We have to look forward now and try to have as strong a finish to the season as possible."

The former Manchester United youngster has experienced frustrating injuries in the past but remains matter-of-fact about his latest lay-off.

"It is tough but it's part and parcel of being a footballer.

"Injuries happen, sometimes they're quick, sometimes they take longer than expected.

"You just have to keep working hard on the training field and look forward to getting back."

Mitchell was signed by Shaun Maloney in January but finds himself playing under an interim boss in David Gray, with the former Belgium No.2 relieved of his duties last month. However, he has been in the game long enough to take all this in his stride.

"That's football; now it gives the lads an opportunity. We've got a young squad to show whoever comes in what we're all about and make us play for places,” he stated, before insisting that the players wouldn’t have to raise their performance level to impress any potential new managers who might be watching on.

"When you play football you have to put your all into every game. You can't think, 'I should put more into this game because someone might be watching',” he insisted."People are watching all the time so we just have to have a strong end to the season and build on it for next year."

Former Old Trafford midfielder Roy Keane has been linked with the vacancy and while it is early days yet, Mitchell argues that the calibre of candidates linked with the Easter Road hotseat shouldn’t have an effect on performances.

"Yeah, there's a little link there. I don't know him personally or anything, but it's good to have big names linked with the club,” he reasoned.

"You see him on TV and what he's like and he'd definitely bring a passion to the club if he got the job, but we don't know who's coming in.

"We've got to play our final games of the season, finish well, and finish as high as possible – seventh place is still the target for us.

"We've just got to keep working hard on the training field. If big names are linked, at the end of the day, it's down to us as individuals to put in performances on the pitch.

"It's not been good enough from us this season I don't think. I came in in January, and it's been tough.”

Mitchell gained a little insight into how Keane might approach a managerial job when he was brought in to speak to the United youngsters during his time at the club.

The former Republic of Ireland internationalist made several visits to share some wisdom with the club’s Academy squads.

"When I was at Manchester United he came in for a few talks,” Mitchell recalled.

"He came in to talk to the younger squads and youth teams a few times. It was good to have someone of that calibre coming in to speak to us and motivate us. It was a good experience.

"It was about how to make the best of our career mentally and physically and motivating us to train hard each day."

Under Maloney, several former Hibs players were invited to take in training at HTC, and speak to the players and coaches and Mitchell revealed it was something he’s experienced at other clubs.

"We have a lot of people coming in at all clubs I've been at – here, Manchester United, Blackpool as well – and having people coming in to speak to you, it does motivate you.

"Keane is a big motivator but it's down to the players to motivate themselves as well.

"But like I said, we don't know who's coming in, we're just focused on finishing the season as well as we can."