Fraser Fyvie has watched Scott Allan re-ignite his career as a Hibs player and now he believes his own switch to Easter Road can do exactly the same for him.
Like Allan, former Aberdeen starlet Fyvie headed to England at an early age, in his case to Wigan Athletic, his new team-mate having made the move to West Bromwich Albion, both joining their new clubs as highly-rated young talent only for both to find the road south can sometimes lead to nowhere.
Hibs boss Allan Stubbs pulled off a coup in persuading ex-Dundee United midfielder Allan to try his luck in the Championship after the Baggies decided not to offer him a new deal last summer, the 23-year-old repaying the faith shown in him with a string of outstanding performances in a green shirt.
And now Fyvie hopes he’ll follow a similar path after Stubbs swooped only hours after his contract at the Hawthorns was terminated by mutual consent, paving the way for him to become the fourth new face to arrive at Easter Road in the January window, a deal until the end of the season agreed on transfer deadline day.
The 22-year-old said: “As soon as I left Wigan I was eager to get playing, training and involved with a club again. Things happened a bit quicker than I expected. I left Wigan in the morning and then signed for Hibs in the evening. As soon as Hibs’ interest happened I was like ‘let’s do it’.
“Luckily enough, Hibs were the same and I am very thankful for that. I’m delighted to get the opportunity to get back playing football again.”
Fyvie, who became the youngest ever player in the Dons history when he made his debut at the age of 16 against Hamilton in the summer of 2009, before his goal in a 3-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle six months later earned him the title of the youngest ever scorer in the SPL, revealed he didn’t need much persuasion from Stubbs.
He said: “The manager didn’t have to say a lot to me. He just told me he wants to give me a chance to start playing football again and that base is there for me. I am well aware of what Scott has done in the last six months and, of course, that’s an example I would like to follow. He’s come up here, he [Stubbs] has taken him under his wing and he has flourished.
“Now it’s up to me to try and force my way into that team.”
Fyvie, a former Scotland Under-21 player, admitted a lack of games at Wigan was partially behind his leaving the Championship club he’d joined in a three-year deal in July 2012, an undisclosed fee believed to have been in the region of £500,000 agreed by the Dons when it became clear he was unwilling to extend his stay at Pittodrie.
Having spent spells on loan at Yeovil and Shrewsbury, Fyvie played just one game this season for Wigan, a Capital One Cup defeat against Burton Albion in August.
He said: “Of course I would have liked more games, that’s part of the reason I left the club. I need to get back playing football again, that’s what I love doing. I haven’t played in many senior games recently.”
Nevertheless, Fyvie firmly believes he’s returning to Scotland a better player and person, saying: “The first year there [Wigan] was great, apart from the club being relegated from the Premier League.
“Working under Roberto Martinez and learning from him was a great experience. The next year wasn’t so enjoyable. I wasn’t involved as much as I would have liked, but that happens to a lot of players.
“It was a huge learning curve for me playing with guys like Shaun Maloney, Gary Caldwell, James McArthur and James McCarthy – all good players and good pros.
“I think my time there has improved me as a player but more so as a person. I learned a lot. It was the first time I had been away from home. I had my first son and having to deal with that away from home with my partner helped me a lot. I have to say I enjoyed it.”
Although he’s been away, Fyvie has kept a close eye on events in Scotland, well aware his old club are flourishing under Derek McInnes although, he insisted, his focus is now entirely on helping Hibs clinch promotion to the Premiership.
As he prepared to make his Hibs debut in today’s Scottish Cup tie against Arbroath at Easter Road, he said: “It was easy to keep up with what was happening here because the games are televised now with Hibs, Hearts and Rangers in the same league.
“I was shocked when Hibs were relegated. Easter Road was one of my favourite places to come and play when I was at Aberdeen.
“I was keen to come back to Scotland for my family as well. As soon as I got the call from Hibs, I was dying to come. The big aim is to get promotion, and we are all up for it.”