Hibs Jason Naismith: Coronavirus might scupper Easter Road dream - I would love Jack Ross to revive my career again

On-loan right-back is braced for Posh return but is loving life at Easter Road

By Peter Wales
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 12:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th April 2020, 12:50 pm
Jason Naismith has loved life at Hibs so far.
Jason Naismith has loved life at Hibs so far.

Jason Naismith hopes the coronavirus pandemic has not scuppered a permanent move to Hibs, admitting he would love Easter Road head coach Jack Ross to revive his career for a second time.

Naismith joined Hibs on loan from Peterborough last summer and became the club’s first-choice right-back under Ross before he suffered a season-ending cruciate ligament injury in January

The 25-year-old, who worked with Ross previously at St Mirren where his also was blighted by a serious injury, is on loan from the Posh until June – and with Scottish football in cold storage due the outbreak of Covid-19, Naismith’s Hibs future is extremely uncertain.

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However, the full-back has made it clear that his future preference is to be in the Capital long-term, although he braced for moving back to London Road if that doesn’t materialise.

Won a watch

“Hibs are a massive club. When I signed it was the first time I felt like I was a proper footballer,” said Naismith.

“No disrespect to Peterborough but I won a watch getting a loan deal from there to Hibs.

“I love playing for the club and was set on going there at the end of the season.

“But this pandemic might change things, in terms of finances and whether the club will be able to do anything.

Patching things up

“I always had it in my mind that I might need to go back to Peterborough.

“I never got ahead of myself or put all my eggs in one basket.

“The manager, Darren Ferguson, has texted me and we’ve patched things up so it wouldn’t be a problem.

“But I get on well with the gaffer at Hibs. I worked with Jack at St Mirren and he probably saved my career.

Ross the saviour

“I had just come back from a cruciate injury and wasn’t match fit. I was out of form and my confidence was shot to bits.

“When he came in as manager, he took me aside and knew I was struggling. But he believed in me.

“He was brilliant and got me back to form. Along with James Fowler, they helped me get the move to Ross County. I owe them for that.

“We’re getting on again at Hibs and it’s amazing how football works sometimes.

“After this injury, hopefully he can be the guy to get me going again. I would love that.

“He’s a great manager to work under. He’s a guy you don’t want to let down. That’s the best thing that I can say about him.”

No real coronavirus impact

Naismith is still going through his recovery from his current knee injury, which was picked up in a Scottish Cup tie against Dundee United at Tannadice.

However, the nationwide lockdown has not impacted on him as much as other professional footballers.

“This pandemic has been a disaster for people. Obviously no one would have wanted it to happen,” continued Naismith.

“But in terms of the injury it hasn’t affected me. I got weights dropped off at the house and I’ve been able to progress my rehab at home.

“Not only have I been able to stick to the plan that I would have been doing at a club, I’ve moved it on a bit. I’m already on some of the harder stuff.

Few distractions

“In a bizarre way it’s probably helped me having to do it from home. In a gym there might be other boys there or distractions.

“But because of the coronavirus there’s nothing else for me to do and I’m fully focused on it. It’s probably been a good thing for me.

“No one knows what’s going to happen with the season but people are saying we might not play again until August.

“I’m due back to full fitness by then so I could be the first guy ever who injures his cruciate, misses a few games but comes back as match fit as anyone else.

Scottish Cup hope

“There’s still talk about continuing with the Scottish Cup [Hibs are due to play Hearts] later in the year.

“I might be the only player to have got the injury in January and still be back in time for the semi-final. That’s some recovery.

“I might only miss a month of football. So from that perspective it’s good for me – but obviously there’s a bigger picture for the people affected by it.”

Daz challenge

Regardless of when football returns, Naismith knows he has support in rehab from Hibs team-mates such as Darren McGregor, who have experienced the same type of injury.

Naismith added in an interview with the Sunday Mail: “I’ve now got the full set, having done both knees. But this is better than the last one, it’s a bit freakish.

“The last one was like a car crash. This one is just the cruciate and I’ve got a better range of motion in my knee.

“The last time I got back, I was so proud of myself. Because there were other boys with the same injury who drifted out of the game or went down the levels.

“I managed to get back and go up the way. I’ve got another similar challenge on my hands now but I know I can beat it because I’ve done it before.

“Darren has done both as well and as soon as it happened he was on the phone to me.

“After he did it, he had an unbelievable season at St Mirren, got a move to Rangers and was their player of the year, then won the Scottish Cup at Hibs.

“So he’s someone I can look up to. I know if I ever need him for advice, he’s there for me.”