Ria McCafferty: Hibs midfielder on rediscovering her mojo after Boroughmuir Thistle loan spell

Hibs Women midfielder Ria McCafferty feels she has rediscovered her mojo after a successful loan at SWPL 2 outfit Boroughmuir Thistle.

The 21-year-old spent the past three months with the Meggetland-based club, getting some valuable game-time under her belt, but is now back and looking to kick on in a green-and-white jersey once more.

McCafferty, who has been with the Easter Road side since she was six, has found minutes hard to come by in the top flight with Hibs this season and admits her confidence took a nosedive.

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However, she now feels in a much better place to challenge – and cement – a first-team spot with Dean Gibson's SWPL 1 side.

“It was really enjoyable and it got my confidence back,” McCafferty said. “It was fun to play and be back out on the pitch again. The Boroughmuir girls were so lovely and even handing my kit back on Thursday night, they couldn’t have been more happy for me going back to Hibs. Going out on loan is never an easy thing to do, as you hope you fit in with the rest of team, but they couldn’t have been more welcoming.

“I think I managed about eight games in the time I was there, scoring once, so I was pleased with my performances. I was still training with Hibs during the loan spell and I think even the coaches there could see my confidence coming back. It was exactly what I needed, so I’m so grateful for the opportunity Boroughmuir gave me.”

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The youngster admitted it took time to pluck up the courage to approach Gibson in the first place. McCafferty has worked under the tutelage of the former under-23 boss for the last four years, so they have a strong bond. However, that did not make chapping on the manager’s door any less daunting.

“It was a horrible situation,” she said. “Dean has been my coach for four years now, so we can have a good laugh and we’re close, but having to go and speak to him about not being happy – I was shaking. But he understood the situation and was more than happy to help me out.

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Ria McCafferty is back in Hibs colours after enjoying a successful loan spell at Boroughmuir Thistle.

“There were three games in a row when I wasn’t involved in the matchday squad, so I just told him I really wanted to get some minutes. I've been at Hibs for 15 years now, so it was getting frustrating. Dean sounded out Suzy (Shepherd) at Boroughmuir about sending me on loan and thankfully they took me on.

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“But Dean also gave me the assurances I was looking for that I was very much still a part of the squad before I went out to Boroughmuir. Even when Hibs got beat by Celtic 2-1 in the SWPL Cup final, I texted him after, saying I was really gutted for them all and he came back saying ‘what are you on about, you're still very much part of our team’, so that was nice to hear.”

McCafferty is now hoping to get the nod against Aberdeen tomorrow at the Balmoral Stadium.

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“I actually think Hibs have the strongest midfield in SWPL 1, so it’s annoying they are so good," she quipped. “It's a waiting game now until we hear the team, but I hope I am involved. We have a few injuries so that might boost my chances too."

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