Scott Allan: I was victim of Hibs v Celtic war
Scott Allan believes he fell victim to the strained relationship between Hibs and Celtic following last summer’s John McGinn transfer saga.
Allan agreed a pre-contract deal to return to Easter Road for a third time during the January transfer window but the midfielder’s hopes of an early exit were dashed as the Glasgow club refused to let him leave, even although there was no chance of him playing for the Hoops.
Allan signed for Celtic four years ago after Hibs steadfastly refused to agree a transfer deal with their Old Firm rivals Rangers, both clubs at that time being rivals in the Championship, but started just three matches for them, spending much of that time on loan at Rotherham and Dundee before being brought back to the capital on loan by Neil Lennon for the second half of last season.
And even the fact Lennon became Celtic boss halfway through last season following Brendan Rodgers’ defection to Leicester City didn’t change matters, leaving Allan to train with the kids.
By that stage, though, insisted the 27-year-old, the situation was beyond salvaging. Allan said: “When he [Lennon]arrived, he said he would get me game time. He did say that. But it wasn’t to be.
“He did feel sorry for me and a few others, like Christian Gamboa, a great professional who never got a sniff after November, I think.
“I’d already signed the pre-contract to come to Hibs by that time, everyone knew I was going to leave and come back here. There were young lads coming through that they would rather give the opportunity to try to break into the team.”
McGinn’s £3 million move to Aston Villa after Hibs had rejected a string of offers from Celtic before they finally matched the Midland club’s bid, has soured the relationship between the two Premiership outfits and, agreed Allan, he felt that had something to do with the predicament he found himself in.
He said: “When I was being lined up to come here in January, the fact that it didn’t happen was nothing to do with me. I wanted to leave, but it was between the two clubs that I wasn’t allowed to leave.
“It wasn’t like there were higher forces working against me or anything. I was just the guy caught in the middle, caught between the two clubs.”
Allan admitted he was as baffled as any on-looker as to why he wasn’t playing, but insisted he never got the chance to prove himself at Celtic under Ronny Deila, Rodgers or Lennon.
He said: “If I got a run of three or four games – which I never got even in the Ronny Deila era – and you don’t do it, then you can hold your hands up and say you didn’t take the chance. But it was never there for me.
“I just never got the chance so I never got the answer as to whether I would have done well or not. Every other player in that squad got at least two games to show what they could do. I never got that, it was strange to me.
“Did I ask why? I did. But when teams are doing trebles and things you take your hat off to them, but I still thought there were chances where you could at least get a wee sniff.”
Allan accepted he’ll have to deal with plenty of expectation from Hibs fans who’ve been waiting anxiously for his return, but he’s happy for that to be the case.
“That is something I want to embrace, he said. “We’ve had good players here both times I have been at Hibs and I don’t think it will be any different this time.
“It would have been good to be part of things when Paul Heckingbottom came in but, considering everything that went on during the year, you find out a lot about yourself. It’s made me a better person and player.
“I know that sounds weird because I haven’t been playing every week but I can take a lot from those experiences.”