Scott Allan big interview: Fighting talk, demanding nature and missing out on 2016 triumph

Hibs midfielder wants fortunes to improve as he reflects on third spell at club

Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 6:00 am
Scott Allan and Hibs face Celtic this evening at Hampden. Pic: SNS
Scott Allan and Hibs face Celtic this evening at Hampden. Pic: SNS

In his two previous spells at Hibs, Scott Allan was accustomed to considerably better times than he is currently experiencing at Easter Road.

The midfielder was a key man in Alan Stubbs’ side as they began their post-relegation revival in 2014/15. And, upon returning to the club on loan in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign, he was part of one of the strongest Hibs sides of the modern era under Neil Lennon. In both of those spells, there was a sense of optimism among supporters which is in stark contrast to the current air of gloom engulfing the club.

After ten league games without a win, Allan is all too aware that the opening months of the season have fallen way short of acceptable levels. However, following a six-game unbeaten run - which has incorporated five consecutive league draws and a penalty shootout win away to Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup quarter-final - Allan is hoping that tomorrow’s semi-final against Celtic counts as the game when his team’s season will belatedly spark into life.

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“When I first signed under Alan Stubbs we went three months not winning many games (in the Championship),” Allan pointed out. “It took us until November until we started playing some good football.

“We just need to stick with it as a team and show the qualities we showed in the second half against Livingston on Wednesday and take that into the next few games. This semi-final is a massive opportunity for is. We’ve obviously not had the wins we wanted recently but it’s a semi-final at Hampden and hopefully that brings the best out in the team.

“It’s down to us on the park to change it. We need to start winning games. We’ll never be happy drawing games but we need to take the positives - since the Hearts game, we’ve not lost. We need to build on Wednesday’s second-half performance.”

The way Hibs fought back from 2-0 down to produce a strong and purposeful second-half performance and salvage a 2-2 draw has given players and management a timely lift ahead of what promises to be a formidable test against the treble-treble winners in Glasgow this evening.

“The first half didn’t go to plan but to come back out when everything was stacked against us, I thought the team showed good fight,” said Allan. “We won our battles in the second half and showed a bit of quality. It was massive for us, especially the way things have been going for us recently and not winning games.

“To be two goals down and to come back under that pressure shows we are a good team. It didn’t feel like a win because we will never be happy drawing games at home. But to come back the way we did shows that we do have that fight which people questioned. We need to show that now on a regular basis. In the second half on Wednesday, the shackles were off and we had nothing to lose. But that’s the kind of attitude we need to show throughout the whole game. At a club like Hibs, we need to go full pelt.”

Allan is often seen demanding more from his team-mates on a match-day. He feels that constant cajoling is crucial to driving up the standards. “I wouldn’t say I was a moaner, but we all want to get the best out of each other,” he said. “If I take too many touches or force a pass then I expect someone to say something to me. It’s what you need to do to win games of football and get results.

“It’s a sport where you need to be there for each other and at times be the guy who sparks a bit of life into someone else if it’s not happening for them.”

The semi-final with Celtic will be Allan’s first game at Hampden since he was part of the Hibs team that lost 1-0 to Falkirk in the 2015 Scottish Cup semi-final. He left Easter Road a couple of months later to join Celtic and missed out on the historic Scottish Cup triumph in 2016 in which several of his old teammates were involved. “I wasn’t jealous, I was happy for Dylan (McGeouch) and all the rest of the boys but it was my first year at Celtic so I was quite happy at the time,” he said. “Looking back, though, I’d have loved to share that moment with a lot of guys I was friends with. The celebrations looked interesting! Hopefully I can make my own memories here. I’m back playing football again and I’m happy to be on the park but I want to be winning games.”