Darren McGregor is hopeful of extending his love affair with Hibs beyond this summer.
The 33-year-old centre-back is out of contract at the end of the season but has already held talks with the club’s management regarding the possibility of a new deal.
McGregor, a boyhood Hibs fan from Leith, is nearing the end of his fourth year at Easter Road after joining from Rangers in 2015 and, after reclaiming his status as a regular starter over the past three months, the former St Mirren defender is optimistic that he will still be at the club next season.
“There’s been talks,” he confirmed in an interview with the Evening News. “I’ve touched base with a couple of people at the club. I’m definitely wanting to stay. I’d do anything for the club. It’s the best move that ever happened for me when I left Rangers to come here. It was the proudest moment of my football career and I’d like to stay here as long as I can.
“We obviously need to deal with the league business first and then I can hopefully get it sorted and over the line come the end of the season. I think the club are keen to keep me, so I’m led to believe. Hopefully by the end of the season, if not before it, we can get something sorted because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. If they want me, I’m quite happy to stay.”
After three strong seasons in which he was one of the first names on the team sheet under Alan Stubbs and then Neil Lennon, McGregor endured a frustrating start to the current campaign when an injury sustained in early August allowed teenager Ryan Porteous to come in and claim his place.
Despite returning to contention in late September, McGregor started only four of the club’s first 20 domestic matches of the season and it began to look like his time as a regular may be coming to an end. However, he has now started 15 of Hibs’ last 16 matches since being reinstated to the side for the draw with Livingston the weekend before Christmas and has been one of the team’s best players as they have surged up the table under Paul Heckingbottom over the past two months.
“Everybody kept asking me earlier in the season if I was still injured but I was really only injured for four or five weeks at the start of the season,” he explained. “But obviously Ryan came in and did superbly well. I’m his biggest fan and I’m here to support him as well, even if that means he’ll take my place, which will probably happen more often than not when he’s fit again. Obviously Efe (Ambrose) also came into a bit of form as well. That’s football. If you’ve got guys that are playing well in front of you, you can’t just expect to walk back into the team.
“I got given a couple of opportunities in the first half of the season and probably didn’t do as well as I should have done so I got put back out the team, and rightly so. But I’ve always believed in myself and continued working hard, and I feel like this run of games has got me back into the rhythm of things. I feel like I’m back to my best, so long may it continue.”