Henri Anier: I’ll get my career on track at Hibs

Henri Anier knows he has competition for his place in the Hibs attack. Pic: SNS
Henri Anier knows he has competition for his place in the Hibs attack. Pic: SNS
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Henri Anier reckons signing for Hibs will be a case of third time lucky after seeing his previous two moves turn sour.

The 24-year-old Estonian internationalist was snapped up on loan from Dundee United by Easter Road boss Alan Stubbs on transfer deadline day, one of three strikers signed by the Capital club in the space of 24 hours.

Anier had only joined the Tannadice club in January, hoping a return to the Scottish Premiership – he had previously played for Motherwell – would help kick-start his career following an unhappy spell in Germany with Erzgebirge Aue.

But, he admitted, he joined United at just the wrong time, the Tayside club selling star players Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong, sales which brought howls of protest from their supporters.

He said: “It wasn’t an easy time for me at United, it wasn’t an easy time for the club. They sold their two flair players and then we had to adapt to a new playing style. I played together with Armstrong in my first game and then they went on the last day of the [January] window.

“I didn’t know they were going to go. These things happen in football, but it wasn’t an easy period. I worked hard everyday and I was positive. But that changed everything.

“They did really well in the fist half of the season and then suddenly everything changed. However, I don’t regret going there. I had come from Germany where things also didn’t work out the way I would have wanted. So I was looking forward to coming back to Scotland to get things going.

“That didn’t happen there, hopefully it will happen here. I am confident and looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Having not featured in Jackie McNamara’s plans this season, 23-times capped Anier was actually on international duty with Estonia, preparing for their European Championship qualifying matches against Lithuania and Slovenia as transfer deadline day approached, a period of great uncertainty for him.

Anier, who played for his hometown club Flora Tallin before a spell in Norway with Viking preceded his move to Motherwell, said: “There was a big club in Poland really interested in me, but it fell through. I had a few different options, but when Hibs came up I didn’t really need to think too long about it.

“I had a short chat with the manager on the phone before I signed and he told me he really wanted me here. It was the same from my side, I really wanted to join. He thinks I will suit Hibs style and I agree, it was a really positive chat”

Anier recognises he will face stiff competition for a place with Stubbs now having the luxury of seven strikers – when Farid El Alagui is fully fit again – to choose from but, he insisted, that doesn’t worry him, nor does the prospect of playing in Scotland’s second tier.

He said: “There is a lot of competition but there is competition at every big team for every position. I think my strengths are to get in behind defences, I am quick and strong. I like to move around and I think each striker we have at the club is a bit different. I think that’s a good thing for the gaffer and it’s good for us boys to have that competition.

“That makes the quality of training higher and that can only be a good thing. We have a lot of games in front of us so we just need to show ourselves in training and it will be the gaffer’s decision who plays.

I wasn’t worried about moving to the Championship. Hibs is a big club and I’m delighted to be here. I think there is only a small difference between the Premiership and Championsship. All I was thinking was I need to get playing, I need to get back where I can be so it wasn’t a big concern, no.”

Anier was ultimately released from the Estonian squad to join his new team-mates in training a few days earlier than expected but while Stubbs hopes to get him up to speed as quickly as possible the player admitted he was unsure as to whether he’d be involved in tomorrow’s Championship match against Alloa.

And it was that lack of game time, he revealed, which led to him cutting short his time with his national squad. He said: “I was at the start of their camp and I had a chat with the manager about my club decision. I hadn’t played recently as well so we had a good chat and he told me to go, get myself a club and then hopefully I’ll be back in the national team.”

As for when he might pull on a green-and-white shirt, Anier said: “I need to speak to the gaffer because I had one week where everything was a bit of a mess. I need to get back to training and see how we will do it.”

Anier does, however, have happy memories of Easter Road having scored his first goal for Motherwell there, the only goal two years ago. He said: “It was my first game in Scotland and I scored the winner. So I have good memories of being here.”