Hibs defender believes Scottish Premiership season must reach conclusion

Darren McGregor feels rivals Hearts deserve chance to play themselves out of relegation

By Craig Fowler
Monday, 30th March 2020, 4:41 pm
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 4:41 pm

Hibs defender Darren McGregor believes the 2019/20 Ladbrokes Premiership season should be played to its conclusion in order to protect fairness in Scottish football.

The campaign is currently on hiatus due to the coronavirus global pandemic and isn't expected to return any time soon.

Some, like Hearts owner Ann Budge, believe football won't return in Scotland until August at the earliest.

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Hibs defender Darren McGregor. Picture: SNS

Hibs' capital neighbours have a vested interest in whether the season is allowed to be played until all 38 games have been completed, as the alternative could see them relegated from the top flight as they currently occupy bottom spot.

Despite playing for Hearts' arch-rivals and being a boyhood Hibs fan, McGregor believes it's only right they have the opportunity to play themselves out of trouble.

He said: "It is a contentious issue. To call it a day as such would be unfair on teams that want to get promoted and the same going the other way (relegation).

"You need to see it to its conclusion to give everybody a fair crack of the whip.

"It is a weird situation to be in. You want to get back, you want that purpose in life, that's what you want as a footballer".

McGregor will wait patiently for the season to restart and is relishing the prospect of a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against the Tynecastle outfit come.

It's a great opportunity for the 34-year-old to get back to another Scottish Cup final, though if the opportunity is taken away from him and his team-mates by the ongoing health crisis, at least he can pacify himself with memories of the 2016 final. McGregor started the match and played a key role as Hibs defefeat Rangers, bringing the cup back to Easter Road for the first time in 114 years.

He said: "The cup seems that far off but we have a great opportunity.

"The game, whenever it gets played, will be a spectacle, it always is when it is Hibs versus Hearts. It will be a tough game but one I think we can win and then who knows?

"But there is a lot happening between now and then so we will see what happens.

"But if my career was to end today I could look back and have no regrets. I was brought up in Leith and I am happy that I won the Scottish Cup with my boyhood heroes".

McGregor may be in the twilight of his career but his future isn't under any immediate threat with a contract until 2023. The deal was signed last season with the understanding the centre-back would gravitate into coaching at Easter Road.

He is able to keep himself busy during the football shutdown as he focuses on his studies.

He said. "I'm currently on a business management course at Napier University. PFA Scotland organised the course and basically it's an HND on business management tapered towards being a manager.

"It's been excellent. David Gray, Whitts (Steven Whittaker) and me have been attending every second Thursday for the last year. It closed until further notice but we have a couple of assignments still to do.

"It was good to be back in the classroom after 20 years. It's good to get the brain working again, to push yourself out your comfort zone because I'm going to have to get there eventually.

"I'm doing as much as I can to tick the boxes that needed to be picked for my future. I have done my B license and was supposed to be in the process of doing my A license but I'm not sure if that will get moved to next year.

"I would love to stay at Hibs in some capacity to be honest but what they see that capacity being, who knows? I want to play as long as I can. I feel as if I still have a lot to give, I genuinely do. I still enjoy the hustle and bustle of training."