JAMES KEATINGS insists he’s relishing the battle he’ll face to force his way into a Hibs side packed full of attack-minded players.
The former Hearts striker turned his back on a move to a Premiership club to cross the Capital and sign a two-year deal with the Easter Road club.
He admits he doesn’t expect to simply walk into a side where the Championship’s top scorer Jason Cummings is already vying for a place alongside Dominique Malonga, Farid El Alagui and Franck Dja Djedje while the arrival of Dan Carmichael from Queen of the South has further increased head coach Alan Stubbs’ options. Keatings, however, is used to such competition, finding himself edged out at Tynecastle by the arrival of Dutch hitman Genero Zeefuik and the return to fitness of Osman Sow and Soufian El Hassnaoui.
Even so, the 23-year-old scored 11 goals in 18 starts for Robbie Neilson’s side and he’s confident of repeating that feat in a green-and-white shirt.
The former Hamilton player said: “Competition is the best thing in football. Not once last season did I say it wasn’t.
“I’m coming here and I know who is in front of me. But I’m starting off with a clean slate and I’ll fight for my place.
“If you are playing well, you’ll play. If not, you don’t. That’s the way football is. This is a team that creates a lot of chances and that’s my game – getting into the box.”
Meanwhile, former Hearts defender Adam Eckersley has denied that he’ll be joining Keatings at Easter Road.
The 29-year-old, freed by the Tynecastle club at the end of the season, was said to be weighing up interest from clubs in the Premiership and Championship with Hibs one of them. He took to Twitter to wish Hibs well but added: “I’m not going there.”