Simon Murray has insisted he has no regrets about joining Hibs despite seeing his stay at Easter Road cut short when the Capital club accepted a bid from South African outfit Bidvest Wits.
Although the striker had signed a two-year deal for Neil Lennon’s side, in effect Murray enjoyed just six months in a green-and-white shirt, scoring 14 goals before moving on loan to Dundee as the Hibs boss revitalised his strike-force for the remanider of the season with the arrivals of Florian Kamberi and Jamie Maclaren.
Murray returned to Edinburgh, Hibs having knocked back a six-figure approach from top-flight Turkish club Elazigspor in January, for pre-season training intent on reclaiming his place but the city side’s opening Europa League match with NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands in mid-July proved to be his last after Johannesburg-based Wits had a £150,000 offer accepted.
Speaking for the first time since his surprise move, former Arbroath and Dundee United hitman Murray told the Edinburgh Evening News: “I had one of my best years in football with Hibs. I was part of probably the best team the club has had for a good few years.
“The boys in the dressing-room really made it.
“It was the best dressing-room I have been in. I still speak to a lot of them on a daily basis and I hope they go on to have another very successful season.”
Admitting Bidvest’s move “came out of the blue”, Murray revealed he’d jumped at the chance, fulfilling his ambition to play abroad at a time when he knew he’d struggle to push his way past Kamberi and Maclaren, who had both rejoined the club haver scoring 17 goals between them as Hibs came within a whisker of taking second place in the Premiership last season.
The 25-year-old said: “I have no regrets. I left with a lot of great memories.
“I got 14 goals for the club, while scoring and beating Rangers at Ibrox and getting the winner against Hearts after only three minutes in my first Edinburgh derby will always stick with me. No-one can take those moments from me.
“I really enjoyed being part of that Hibs team. We had really good players like John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Brandon Barker, who are all now playing in the English Championship.
“Everyone goes their own ways, Danny Swanson has also gone, but that’s football – it takes you down different routes. It was a bit of a risk to come to South Africa, but I was really excited about what Bidwest, who are hoping to win the league this season, had to say. They really made me feel they wanted me which is a big thing in football.
“It was a great opportunity for me and, having wanted to play abroad at some stage – although I probably thought that would be somewhere in Europe – I didn’t want to let is pass me by only to be left wondering ‘what if’ at the end of my career.”