Former Hibs star picks out one misconception about Garry O'Connor and Derek Riordan

Former team-mate Hibs Kevin Thomson believes there’s an unfair misconception about Garry O’Connor and Derek Riordan from their playing days at Easter Road.

By Craig Fowler
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 3:27 pm

The duo were among the deadliest attackers in Scottish football during their time in Leith. Though they would each return for second, separate spells, it was during their initial run in the first-team after coming through the youth ranks where they regularly enthralled the crowd and terrorised opponents.

There is a widely-held belief that neither made the most of their talents despite being Scottish internationals and earning lucrative moves abroad.

This, coupled with some off-field controversies, leant credence to a shared reputation as professionals who didn’t take their craft seriously enough. But Thomson is adamant that both were avid trainers who worked hard on their craft behind the scenes.

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He told Open Goal: “I can understand why [Ex-Hibs boss] Tony Mowbray found Gaz and Deeks difficult, just because of their personalities.

“By the way, they were brilliant trainers. They were the first ones out there. Yeah, they may have been mucking about with Deeks trying overhead kicks and Gaz trying to put them in the top corner, but they were brilliant trainers. That’s how they were able to have such good careers and play international football.

“It was more about them maybe not going up for lunch if Tony wanted them to eat properly. They maybe never had the best professional attitude towards that.

“The thing for Tony was that he couldn’t go out and sign a Deeks or Gaz, because those players were too expensive for Hibs. So yeah, they maybe gave him a few grey hairs, but if you were to ask him about their talent he would say they were unbelievable. And they were grafters. Gaz used to be a monster in pre-season.

Derek Riordan and Garry O'Connor were a lethal attacking combination during their time together at Hibs. Picture: SNS

“If you could ask if they’d change things, aye of course. We all would change things because you’d want to be better. You’d want to have another chance, but you don’t get another one unfortunately.

“People might see Gaz and Deeks and how they look now, and what they’re up to now, and compare it to what they were when they were in their peak. But they were unbelievable players.”

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