Hibs: Lee Johnson in hospital, rollercoaster McKirdy deal, and late night at HTC - Jamie McAllister gives insight into transfer deadline day
Picture the scene: Thursday night at Hibs’ East Mains training complex, with the transfer deadline ticking closer.
A striker is required, Christian Doidge having joined Kilmarnock on loan and Elias Melkersen a doubt after suffering a concussion against St Mirren.
The only tweets the official Hibs account have sent in the past 12 hours are about the UEFA Youth League matches, and Dylan Tait’s loan move to Arbroath.
Lee Johnson is in hospital, recovering from an operation to remove his gallbladder. Meanwhile Hibs are trying to perform surgery on their attack and defence.
Ben Kensell is prowling the corridors of HTC while at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary, Johnson is surreptitiously trying to use his phone to keep in contact.
Jamie McAllister and assorted other staff members remain at Ormiston until the wee small hours as late deals are completed for McKirdy – FIFA approval pending – Manchester United defender Will Fish, and Troyes forward Mykola Kukharevych.
The mood on social media takes a turn for the better.
Speaking on Friday, McAllister opens up on what turned out to be a frantic evening for those of a green and white persuasion.
“Obviously you identify targets and work on them for the whole window and sometimes it comes down to the last day,” he explains.
“The staff worked really hard and we got the support from above as well.
“The gaffer was in contact as often as he could be, before his op and after, once he’d come round.
“He was in hospital, just trying to get access to his phone.”
McAllister was due to visit Johnson on Friday night, the Easter Road manager having been rushed to hospital after a period of feeling unwell.
"He hadn't been sleeping properly, had stomach aches and different things, and there was an infection there,” the No.2 says.
"The operation was only supposed to be an hour and a half but took nearly four hours. He was a bit groggy on Thursday."
Johnson is recovering well at home but will remain in constant contact with trusted lieutenants McAllister and Adam Owen for the Scottish Premiership visit of Kilmarnock.
"It's up to us to get the boys ready but it'll take more than an operation to stop Lee giving us instructions,” McAllister laughs.
"He's been doing what he can. I've been telling him to relax and let us take care of it but that's just how he is.
"I'm sure he'll try and get to the game but it’s important he recovers quickly. The best remedy is bringing home three points."
The new signings won’t bump up the average age of the squad – McKirdy at 25 is the elder statesmen with Fish 19 and Kukharevych just turned 21.
"We’re used to working with younger groups,” McAllister continues.
“But we’re not signing them because they’re young, we’re signing them because we can see their potential, their quality, and we think they can add to the group.
“It’s up to us to keep developing them, keep working with them, and they will shine.”
Fish and McKirdy are likely to be in the squad to face Kilmarnock but the Kukharevych deal will take a while longer to finalise.