Marc McNulty: Hibs will do well to keep hold of Paul Heckingbottom this season

Hibs will be doing well to keep hold of head coach Paul Heckingbottom this season, according to former Easter Road striker Marc McNulty.

Sunday, 11th August 2019, 3:20 pm
Marc McNulty with Paul Heckingbottom during the striker's loan spell at Easter Road

The 26-year-old enjoyed a fruitful half-season loan spell at his boyhood club last season, scoring seven goals as the Capital club hauled themselves up the table under the former Barnsley manager's guidance.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of Hibs' Scottish Premiership clash at Ibrox against Rangers - where McNulty played the penultimate game of his loan spell - the Sunderland forward said: "I can't speak highly enough of [Paul Heckingbottom].

"Him and the assistant [Robbie Stockdale] probably were two of the best coaches I've worked with.

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"They both like to be hands on, they are good one-on-one and I'm grateful they gave me the opportunity to play every week.

"I think Hibs will do really well this season and I'll be surprised if they manage to keep hold of him."

McNulty was linked with a return to Easter Road over the summer after falling out of favour at Reading, but the forward ended up joining Sunderland.

Hibs did hold talks with the Royals but couldn't reach an agreement for the former Livingston hitman to return to the club.

"I loved my time at Hibs and I'm a local lad," McNulty said. "I said I'd be open to going back if they could make something work, but I don't think they could make it happen."

However, he admitted he had been warned not to return to Scotland in the first place, as he pondered a loan offer prior to Heckingbottom's arrival in Edinburgh.

"I was training with the [Reading] youth team at the time and I had a few options in England, but then Hibs came up.

"I was humming and hawing, I spoke to a lot of people who told me not to go back to Scotland too early.

"But I always wanted to get a Scotland cap and the best chance of me doing that I thought was to be in the Premiership rather than League Two in England.

"Obviously I then made the switch to Hibs and it was unbelievable, it couldn't have gone any better."

McNulty's displays in green and white did earn him a Scotland call-up under Alex McLeish, and he's eager to impress incumbent boss Steve Clarke.

"I've not spoken to him but it's pretty simple. You play every week, score every week and play well, and I'm sure he'll be watching. Hopefully that's enough to get me in the squad," he added.