How Hibs emerged from transfer window in a stronger position

With all the last-minute hubbub Hibs’ summer transfer dealings came to a screeching halt, rather than meandering over the finish line like previous windows.

By Patrick McPartlin
Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 6:01 pm
Dylan Tait and Nathan Wood joined Hibs on transfer deadline day
Dylan Tait and Nathan Wood joined Hibs on transfer deadline day

There will have been disappointment that the eleventh-hour deal for Jamie McGrath couldn't beat the clock but it's hard not to imagine a feeling of satisfaction as the lights at Easter Road were turned off in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The defence has been bolstered by the arrival of Nathan Wood; Dylan Tait is the latest young Scottish prospect to be snapped up, and David Mitchell is a strong addition to the goalkeeping department.

But perhaps the most significant bit of business was holding on to Josh Doig, Kevin Nisbet, and Ryan Porteous.

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It was a real statement of intent from a club tired of swatting away derisory bids for key players. Hibs may still be a selling club of sorts but they are in a stronger position than before. There is no need to sell, no need to offload players for disappointingly low fees to help balance the books.

Much of that is down to Ron Gordon clearing the debt but the club owner's long-term plan for Hibs is steadily taking shape.

Building on success

Despite the disappointment in both cups, finishing third last season felt significant for Hibs. How often have we seen the club start a season strongly, or finish on a high, only to fall just short?

The nucleus of the squad has remained while those that have arrived and featured complement the existing pool.

Jake Doyle-Hayes was something of a surprising signing but has so far illustrated why he was coveted by the recruitment team while Daniel Mackay has shown in flashes the promise that netted him a move to the Premiership.

James Scott may be yet to open his account but showed against Dundee and Livingston why he was viewed as a good fit.

Nathan Wood comes highly rated - it isn't every player that gets linked with a £9 million move to the English Premier League before they're 20 - while Mitchell has been on the club's radar for a while and can add competition and experience between the sticks.

Kyle Magennis has been like a new signing after a stuttering first campaign in green and white while Jack Ross is still to welcome back Chris Cadden, Christian Doidge, Melker Hallberg, Paul Hanlon, and Joe Newell.

Chris Mueller and Tait will also be available from January.

Quality not quantity

For large parts of the 2020/21 campaign Hibs had an obvious starting XI with the remainder making up the nine-man bench. There is greater competition for places this year but squad depth is looking far better and that's what was missing last term.

This feels like a big season for Hibs. After the high of last term’s third-place finish and the low of the Scottish Cup final defeat, the onus is on the players to prove that they can mix it with the best.

On paper, the Easter Road squad is looking far healthier now than it did at the start of the window and last season. The unbeaten start to the campaign is a promising sign, especially with so many key players sidelined, but the real test will be maintaining this level of form.

Hibs may now have the players to do so.

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