Hibs 21st century XI - The left-midfielder revealed

The first member of Hibs' golden generation to make it into this team was the most talented of the lot.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 11:13 am
Former Hibs attacker Derek Riordan.
Former Hibs attacker Derek Riordan.

That's quite a statement to make when there's Scott Brown, a midfielder who captained Celtic to umpteen trophies; Steven Whittaker, a former English Premier League player who wracked up 31 caps for Scotland; Garry O'Connor, a similarly deadly striker who earned a seven-figure move to Russia; and Kevin Thomson, someone who played in a UEFA Cup final.

But there was little doubt that when they were all breaking through and making their mark on the Easter Road first-team that Derek Riordan was the brightest star of the lot.

His ability to shoot with both feet was incredible for a young Scottish footballer. He could fire the ball into the top corner of the net from anywhere inside 25 yards.

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Former Hibs attacker Derek Riordan.

It helped in the eyes of the fans that he was a Hibs supporter himself, born and bred in the Pilton area of Edinburgh. Or that he was fond of a goal against their greatest rivals, Hearts.

Riordan's three-year spell prior to leaving Easter Road in 2006 will rank up there with some of the best we've seen at Hibs in the last few decades. He netted 18, 23 and 20 goals in successive years, drawing the attention of Celtic and manager Gordon Strachan.

It never worked out for the player at Parkhead and that was the moment his career stalled. He would never reach the potential he showed in those early days.

Even when he returned to Leith in 2008, the old spark wasn't quite there. His goal tallies of 12, 17 and 11 were strong enough, but the diminishing returns were there to see. It was also at this time where he began playing on the left of midfield with more frequency, which is why he was selected among the left-midfielders for our Hibs XI poll.

After the second spell came to an end he embarked on a nomadic existence with eight clubs in six years before finishing up at Edinburgh City in 2017.

But let us not dwell on what could have been and remember what was. Riordan was a supremely talented goalscorer who could light up a game at a moment's notice, and that light burned brighter in a green shirt than it did anywhere else.

The team so far...