Jamie Gullan eager to help Hibs get back to winning ways with 'second chance' after transfer U-turn

Two months ago Jamie Gullan feared his time at Hibs was coming to an end. The forward was on the cusp of leaving for pastures new until events elsewhere saw him handed an Easter Road lifeline.

By Patrick McPartlin
Saturday, 30th October 2021, 6:00 am
Gullan was handed a start against Aberdeen at Pittodrie
Gullan was handed a start against Aberdeen at Pittodrie

In the early part of the season he struggled for gametime but has recently played his way back into first-team plans, with head coach Jack Ross praising his work ethic.

“I did think it was over for me at Hibs, ” Gullan admits ahead of the trip to face Ross County. “I knew that it was almost like another fresh start and I just needed to show everyone what I can do and play in this team, because I know I can.

"Playing for this club means a lot. This i where I want to be. There were a lot of phone calls and stuff on deadline day and it was a bit mad, but it gave me another chance to prove what I can do here.”

Jamie Gullan has forced his way back into the Hibs first team after coming close to departing Easter Road

Insisting that the sudden transfer U-turn hadn’t affected him too much psychologically, Gullan reveals that Ross spoke to him in the days after the window closed to reassure him that he had a future at the club.

"He told me that if I kept training the way I was then I would get games. I definitely feel that on the training pitch I've shown what I can do, so it's just now up to me to do it on the pitch, hopefully get more minutes, and repay the gaffer in good performances.”

Gullan, known as Hammer, was part of the Hibs development squad that won the league and cup double in 2018 and just a few months later made his first-team debut against NSI Runavik in the Faroe Islands in the Europa League. Since then he has made 36 appearances, scoring three and laying on another.

He also spent time out on loan at Raith Rovers where a return of 14 goals and four assists in 50 appearances sparked hopes he would return to Hibs feeling the benefit, ready to force his way into the first team.

Gullan came close to leaving Hibs in August

Gullan turned 22 in July and now feels ready for the demands of regular Scottish Premiership football.

"It's been a bit stop-start,” he muses when asked about his career to date. “Breaking through a few years ago was a great learning experience for me, to be in and around some really good players, and as a youngster I was picking up new things day in, day out and it helped me to be where I am now.

"I've had a few loan spells and I feel each time I've come back to Hibs having learned new things and now I feel ready to get into the team.”

With Hibs struggling for bodies in attack with Christian Doidge out injured and James Scott needing to work on his fitness, Gullan has a chance to stake a claim for regular minutes.

"It's crucial for me to show what I can do. Even when they are back I need to just keep pushing and show everyone what I can do, when I'm on the pitch and in training,” he states.

Gullan’s exploits for the Hibs B team - a hat-trick in a 4-2 friendly win against Huddersfield Town B – earned him a promotion to the starting line-up against Aberdeen at Pittodrie last weekend before an appearance off the bench against Celtic on Wednesday night.

He isn’t taking his resurgence lightly.

"It means everything being in back amongst the team,” he says. “It's tough when you're not playing and on the sidelines watching when you feel you can play a part.

"I've worked really hard to try and get to the position I'm in now, where I can be selected and play a part so I'll continue to do that and hopefully the starts come.”

There have been strict instructions from above, as well as advice dispensed from the likes of Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson.

"There's been a few demands from the gaffer. It was apparent in pre-season that gametime would be limited and I had to take that on board and show the coaching staff that I'm not here to sit about, I want to be playing here.

"I feel I’ve done that. I'm delighted to be back in this position,” he smiles. “I’ve spoken to the experienced guys and they give me advice all the time. They told me there was no reason why I couldn’t get into the team if I kept training the way I was.”

With Hibs struggling for form, the onus is on Gullan to offer something different when called upon.

"It can change really quickly; all it can take is a goal or a lucky bounce here or there, we get the wins and get back up the table,” he points out.

Hibs travel to Dingwall in search of a first win in five games today but after a 5-0 win at Dundee in midweek, Gullan knows the Staggies will be tough opponents.

"Anyone can beat anyone in this league, but I don't think many people saw that coming. Obviously they will be full of confidence for Saturday and we need to go up there and be confident ourselves because I thought in the second half [against Celtic] we did play really well. If we take that into Saturday there's no reason why we can't win the game.”

Were Gullan to score the goal that secured a much-needed win for Hibs, he would clearly be delighted. But a win is a win.

"I'd rather the team were picking up points but I guess the gaffer may look to change things,” he offers.

"If I'm called upon then I'll give everything I can to help us get the three points.

"If I'm the one who ends up scoring that goal then brilliant, but whoever it is we just need to get back to winning games.”

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