What Hibs fans can expect from new right-back Jason Naismith
Hibs left it until virtually the last possible minute of the summer transfer window to confirm the arrival of Jason Naismith on a season-long loan from Peterborough. Here's a look at what the 25-year-old will bring to the club...
There was a time when Jason Naismith was one of the most highly-rated defensive prospects in Scotland. Following five years at St Mirren, he joined Ross County and looked like a new man, and not only because he had just returned from a serious knee injury.
A consistently impressive operator, he made a name for himself rampaging down the right flank for the Staggies and was a key player in an offensive and defensive sense. It came as little surprise to anyone that he departed following the club's relegation to the Scottish Championship, signing a three-year deal with Peterborough United in England's League One.
Standing nearly 6ft 2in tall, he is an aerial threat from set-pieces but his height is also a bonus when defending similar situations. He has a good shot on him as well, as evidenced by a drilled effort in a 2-2 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in March 2014 following a free kick, and a rocket from around 20 yards against St Johnstone seven months later.
But what should please Hibs fans the most are Naismith's similarities to David Gray. A naturally fit athlete, Naismith didn't often come out second best in defensive duels during his time in Scotland, and used his physicality to great effect while attacking and in defence. Add in the odd goal, a penchant for flighting balls into the box and leaving everything on the pitch, and Hibs have signed a like-for-like replacement for the club captain.
During his last season in Scotland, the 25-year-old was fourth overall for crosses with an accuracy of just over 35 per cent - more than the average of 30 per cent - and in terms of key passes i.e. passes that led to shots, he outperformed both James Forrest and Scott Sinclair of Celtic.
His consistency is a key part of his game. Hibs fans are unlikely to see a barnstorming performance followed up by an error-strewn nightmare - and, unlike some of Hibs' other summer signings, he won't need time to adapt to the Scottish game having grown up in the midst of it.
With Tom James still to return from injury, Lewis Stevenson and Ryan Porteous back from their own spells on the sidelines and Steven Whittaker available to cover either full-back position, Hibs are starting to look well-stocked in defence. Naismith's versatility - he can operate as a wing-back or at centre-back - could also prove useful this season.