A Hibs clear-out is surely coming - so which players would you keep?

Ambition to become ‘third force’ requires upgrades in all areas
L-R: Obita, Youan and Newell look dejected as Hibs fail to make top six, courtesy of a late Motherwell equaliser at Fir Park on Saturday.L-R: Obita, Youan and Newell look dejected as Hibs fail to make top six, courtesy of a late Motherwell equaliser at Fir Park on Saturday.
L-R: Obita, Youan and Newell look dejected as Hibs fail to make top six, courtesy of a late Motherwell equaliser at Fir Park on Saturday.

It’s the unspoken rule of progress, the fear that stalks every player with ambitions to be part of a progressive rebuild in a summer of upheaval. If Hibs are to get where they want to be, not everyone can go along for the ride.

The hardest thing about making a step change in expectations and performance levels? Moving on the guys who are really solid professionals. Sound. Diligent workers. Never let anyone down, in any noticeable way. But simply aren’t capable of performing at the levels required.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They might be popular with their team-mates. Play important roles in the dressing room. Vital the chemistry of the squad, even. But that won’t get the job done. And that’s the overriding priority.

Whether it’s Bill Foley making claims about turning Hibs into the undisputed third force in Scottish football, or Ian Gordon declaring that the ultimate aim is to challenge Old Firm domination of the domestic scene, statements of intent have rightly raised expectations among supporters. Regardless of other changes in the football department and considering a budget savaged by failure to make the top six this season, a change is gonna come at East Mains. The number of loan signings and expiring contracts guarantees as much.

Assuming that the manager – working under a new director of football, possibly – will be in the market for upgrades in every department, then, it’s probably easier to pick out the guys good enough to STAY when the clear-out comes. What do you think?


The way David Marshall is talking, the former Scotland goalie isn’t likely to be around for another pre-season with Hibs. Out of contract in the summer, he may well have other options to stay involved in the game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nothing we’ve seen from Jojo Wollacott so far suggests that he’s significantly better than Marshall. Which means Hibs will almost certainly be in the market for a new No. 1.


The last properly dominant defender to play for Hibs? Probably Ryan Porteous, a talent not easy to replace.

At least the fullback position is covered, with Chris Cadden, Lewis Miller and Jordan Obita all good enough to kick on. But it’s hard to see Hibs charging into a battle for third place with a central defensive pairing of Will Fish – who might have other options in the final guaranteed year of his Manchester United contract – and Rocky Bushiri, a couple of young prospects severely exposed at crucial times this season.


Joe Newell stays, right? Beyond that, Nathan Moriah-Welsh has shown some promise. Josh Campbell has qualities. But, with Emi Marcondes likely away, you’d have to think two strong starting contenders will be added to central midfield during the summer.


Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Martin Boyle probably needs a rest, followed by a proper pre-season. If we assume that Myziane Maolida goes, it’s hard to argue a case for Elie Youan or Jair Tavares as star players for a team with ambitions to challenge for third place.


Dylan Vente will remain on the books, and it might be worth giving Adam Le Fondre another one-year contract as an impact sub. But something will have gone very wrong if Hibs don’t add a proven striker to the squad this summer. As the team currently cruising to a third-placed finish in the Scottish Premiership have shown, an out-and-out goal scorer is a must to compete at the right end of the table.

Loaned out and forgotten …

Harry McKirdy, Riley Harbottle, Allan Delferriere, Nohan Kenneh … just to name a few. Some have a better chance than others of being around for season 2024-25 kick-off.


Given carte blanche to upgrade across the board, Hibs might choose to keep only the back-up goalie, three fullbacks, one starting midfielder and a couple of subs, one winger and two strikers. But this isn’t fantasy football. In the real world, the manager will have to prioritise according to needs, wants and availability of men able to do the job. That is likely to spell a reprieve for some of the borderline cases, the solid characters making the most of their ability, just about doing enough to stay useful.