Dylan Tait sad to depart Raith but ready to challenge for first-team place at Hibs under Shaun Maloney
The 20-year-old midfielder, who signed a deal at Easter Road until 2025 last summer before being loaned back to Raith, played his last match for the Kirkcaldy club yesterday, before returning to the Easter Road Club.
A League 1 title winner with Rovers in 2020, Tait was in a reflective mood after learning that his time was up at Raith.
He said: "I’ve played here for three years since I was a young boy so it was quite emotional to have played my last game.
“I wish all the fans could have been here, it would have been even better, but the fans clapped me off at the end and that means a lot to me."
“On the pitch and even off the pitch - they’ve made me a better person and a nicer person.
“They were always there when you needed them for whatever reason - football, family, friends.
“Any advice you needed, they were there. The more experienced players were a help, too. Kyle Benedictus has always really helped me as did Davo (Iain Davidson) when he was here.
“John Baird really helped me and now there’s Christophe Berra and Jamie MacDonald who’ve been massive for me.
“I’ve made a lot of good friends here. There’s plenty of good players in there and, hopefully, they can go on and win the league."
The midfielder leaves Raith third in the Championship pushing for promotion, and is relishing the challenge back at his parent club.
“I'm looking forward to it," he said.
“I was meant to be going to Dubai, but that's been cancelled so I'm stuck in the cold. But nah I want to kick on and impress the new manager.
“I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago in training – and hopefully I get a chance.
“It was different when I first went in – it was challenging from what I'm used to.
“I've trained with them most Mondays and Tuesdays since I signed and I'm really enjoying it."
Raith manager John McGlynn expects Maloney to be good for Tait and hopes the player can push for a first-team place.
“We're obviously hoping that Dylan can go to Hibs and challenge the players there,” he said.
“He'll not be going straight in the team, he'll need to go and fight his way into the Hibs first team.
“[They have a] new manager so he's going in, having to go and impress Shaun Maloney, who I know quite well from my time at Celtic.
“The good thing about that is Shaun's philosophy and ideas, Dylan will be able to adapt to that fairly quickly, I would suggest.
“But he's got competition in front of him, a lot of players there at Hibs. You would like to keep him but at the same time, Dylan now needs to go to Hibs and he needs to try and force his way into that team.
“I think he's ready to do that.”