Kevin Nisbet's €130m Scotland goal as Hibs striker's remarkable story continues

Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet continues to write himself quite the story.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 12:30 pm
Kevin Nisbet scored his first Scotland goal with an impressive appearance off the bench against the Netherlands. Picture: Getty

At Easter Road, it is the adventure of Martin Boyle which has captivated many an onlooker. From delivering parcels when turning out part-time for Montrose to becoming the best player in the country outside of Celtic and Rangers and a fully-fledged Australian international.

However, his Hibs team-mate is putting together quite the page-turner.

In 2015 Nisbet had a successful loan spell at East Stirlingshire, helping them finish in the heady heights of ninth in League Two with six goals in 11 games.

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It was his first taste of men’s football and already, a player who was highly rated at parent club Partick Thistle, he was making it look easy.

Nisbet, who once played as a defensive midfielder in the Hibs academy before moving to Thistle, would go on to make his Premiership bow with the Jags later that year.

But it wasn’t long before his career trajectory stopped moving skywards, instead resembling a wayward firework which had been let off inadvertently.

Loans spells at Ayr United and Dumbarton weren’t productive in front of goal and come 2018 he had been released by Thistle following their relegation to the Championship.

Attitude and diet

Nisbet didn’t look for a sob story and blame other factors for the position he found himself in. The “penny dropped” and it was a case of self-reflection.

“My attitude wasn’t right on or off the park,” he admitted. “I was going out too much and I had a bad diet.”

He had to go on trial at Raith Rovers in the third tier to earn a deal. While some fans of the Fife club didn’t see what the fuss was about, then manager Barry Smith did.

It was the start of the comeback.

He hit 34 in all competitions for. Such form attracted Dunfermline Athletic. At the Pars, in what was a shortened season due to the pandemic, 23 were netted in 32 games.

Now for a move to the Premiership. Clubs down south were interested, as were Hearts, but Nisbet chose Hibs.

Any doubts about that step from the second tier to the top-flight were extinguished early on. On his debut, a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock, he set up Martin Boyle for the opener while displaying intelligent movement and a willingness to drop deep and get involved.

A week later, Hibs fans were treated to his predatory instincts, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Livingston.

A further 15 goals followed and a call-up to the Scotland squad for the March World Cup qualifiers. He retained his place for this summer’s Euros.

The €130m goal

Of the three strikers, most would admit he is third choice. But what a choice he is as he showed against the Netherlands.

Barely a minute after coming on, he got in front of Juventus’ €85million man Matthijs de Ligt to cushion Andy Robertson's wonderful cross into the back of the net.

The striker who cost six-figures had netted against a centre defence with a value of more than €130million.

Throughout his 30 minutes on the pitch he looked like a player who deserved to be there, perhaps exemplified by the first-time lay-off to David Turnbull, a sumptuous but effortless piece of play.

It was just another fine chapter in a gripping and inspirational story.

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