Dundee midfielder Scott Allan has been backed to handle being the centre of attention on Sunday when he faces Hibs for the first time since his unceremonious departure two years ago.
After a sensational 2014/15 season under Alan Stubbs in which he was named PFA Championship player of the year, the 25-year-old lost his hero status at Easter Road when he handed in a transfer request amid interest from Rangers in summer 2015 before eventually being sold to Celtic.
Allan last month joined Dundee on a season-long loan and is guaranteed a hot reception from the travelling support at Dens Park this weekend. James McPake, a former Hibs captain, “I don’t think the booing will get to Scott too much,” McPake told the Evening News. “I travel in with him and, from speaking to him, he thoroughly enjoyed his time at Hibs. I don’t think the way it ended is a true reflection of his time there or the feeling he has for Hibs.
“There’ll be quite a few boys at Hibs who he played with but he’ll be used to that because he’s had a few different clubs now. Hopefully he can show them the quality they all know he’s got. I’m sure he’ll be a player Hibs will be wary of on Sunday. He’ll be looking forward to it - I certainly would if I was in his position. It’s against Hibs, live on television and there’ll be a good crowd, so he’ll be up for it. I’m sure he’ll take any abuse on the chin and get on with it.”
After a couple of seasons in the wilderness since leaving Hibs, Allan has shown glimpses of the form he showed at Hibs. McPake reports that the former Dundee United and West Bromwich Albion has been a welcome addition to the Dundee squad.
“He’s been great for us,” said McPake. “He’s a really good footballer who just needs to play games but he’s been brave in coming out of Celtic to another team in the same league. He wants to get on the ball. Throughout the season he’ll make a lot of goals for us and he’ll be a really good player for our team.
“He’s a really good lad. I didn’t know him before he came here but I’d heard from people at Hibs that he was a good boy, and he’s been a really good influence round about our dressing-room. When you get players in on loan, you don’t always know how they’re going to be but I can tell from having him around for the last six weeks or so that there’s nothing but good in him. Having him in our dressing-room is going to help us and having him on the pitch is going to help us even more. I’m delighted he’s with us.”
Allan has started seven of Dundee’s eight games this season as he bids to get back on track following a two-year period in which he started only eight games for Celtic and Rotherham United.
“He’ll want to get back to the level he was at with Hibs and I think he’ll do that here,” said McPake. “He’s already shown a lot of good form with us. He’s missed a few chances but he’s laid on loads of chances for us already. You can just see he’s got that bit of quality. I watched a lot of his games at Hibs and I’ve spoken to a lot of people about him, and everybody talks about how good he can be. He jumped at the chance to come here and get games. It’s now up to him.”