Ewan Henderson sold on Hibs move by Shaun Maloney reunion - but midfielder has deeper connections with Easter Road

He was there on 21 May 2016, watching his older brother Liam deliver two assists as Hibs came from behind to win the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years – now Ewan Henderson wants to create his own Hibee memories.

By Patrick McPartlin
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 3:11 pm
Ewan Henderson is delighted to be at Hibs - 'the perfect place to be', he said
Ewan Henderson is delighted to be at Hibs - 'the perfect place to be', he said

The 21-year-old became the second signing for the Capital club in as many days on Thursday, joining on an initial six-month loan deal from Celtic but with a permanent three-year contract coming in the summer.

He’s the second of the three Henderson brothers to turn out for the Easter Road side, living the dream for a Hibs-daft family. So about that day at Hampden…

"The cup final was an amazing day for the family. My grandad is a Hibs fan, my dad Nicky supported Hibs when he was younger, so for all the Hibs fans and our family as well it was an unbelievable day I’ll never forget,” Henderson recalls.

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Henderson's brother Liam played a key role in the 2016 Scottish Cup success

"I’ve got another brother Jamie and he’s probably better than me and Liam! My dad always says we’ll never be as good as him, but hopefully I can prove him wrong.

"I spoke to him, but I’ve been FaceTiming Liam every day and he just said the best place to be is Hibs. He knows the club well and said it’s a top club with a big fanbase and the perfect place for me to be.”

The arrival of the attacking midfielder is the latest step in Hibs’ new approach to the transfer market and the future. At 21, Henderson is a little older than 19-year-old Elias Melkersen, who put pen to paper on a long-term deal earlier this week, and Arsenal defender Harry Clarke, 20, who is expected to follow them through the doors to Easter Road.

When Henderson officially signs his permanent contract at the end of the current campaign he will be the ninth Hibs player on long-term deals until the summer of 2025 or 2026.

Nicky Henderson in action for Clyde

Eight of those nine are aged 23 or younger. Seven of the nine have been capped at international level, either underage or senior.

Another four are contracted until the summer of 2024. Three of those four are full internationalists and only one of them is above the age of 30.

It is clear to see the direction recruitment is taking: younger players with potential who can be sold on at a large profit, or become mainstays of the team, supplemented by experienced heads – something from which Henderson is keen to benefit.

"Everyone here is a top player, and when you're training with top players every day you learn from them. Hopefully I can learn from them in training and become a better player too."

Henderson celebrates netting the winner against Real Betis for Celtic

The arrival of Shaun Maloney undoubtedly helped too, the 38-year-old having nurtured Henderson at Celtic Park. The new Hibee owes his manager a lot, but revealed that Hibs had been keeping an eye on him before Maloney’s arrival.

"The manager was my coach in the reserves at Celtic so I know a lot about him but it sort of happened after I came on against Real Betis and scored; my agent phoned me that night and said Hibs were interested,” Henderson told HibsTV.

The Easter Road side had relieved Jack Ross of his duties just hours before Henderson made his first appearance of the season for the Bhoys and while midfielder chose to wait and see who Hibs brought in as successor, the appointment of Maloney made the decision a lot easier – especially with reported interest from Italy, where his brother currently plies his trade.

"As soon as I saw it was Shaun Maloney I thought, ‘one million per cent, let’s get this done!’

“Shaun being here played a big part in me choosing Hibs. When I worked with him at Celtic he made me a better player and all I can say is that he’s a top manager.

"He was unbelievable and a big influence on my career from the age of 18. The way he sees football made me look at the game in a completely different way.

"He was a big reason that I made the step up to the Celtic first team.”

Like his brother, Henderson made an impression at an early age for the Hoops but has made the decision to leave for first-team football. He believes continuing his career at the other end of the M8 can only be beneficial under the watchful eye of Maloney.

"I’m forever grateful to Celtic for what they did for me. They brought me through their academy to play a few times for the first team. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me.

"But I think Hibs is the perfect place for me. It’s a massive club with an unbelievable fanbase and I was there in 2016 so I know how much it means to the fans.

"Everything about the club and the way it’s run makes it the perfect place for me to be.”

Henderson will be ineligible to make his debut when Hibs resume action against his parent club on January 17 but he could get his bow in the Scottish Cup against Cove Rangers three days later, and he is eager to show the supporters what he can do.

"I like to create things, score goals, assist, and hopefully bring some enjoyment to the fans when they’re watching.

"I've watched the last few games since Hibs have been interested, and they’ve been playing good football that the fans seem to enjoy.

"Every player wants to play the type of football that Hibs are trying to play.

"I just want to play games – I’ve missed that a bit in the last couple of years so my focus is just to play games, make sure the team is winning, and do everything I can to help them."