Stevie Mallan has admitted the success his old St Mirren buddy John McGinn enjoyed at Easter Road has piled the pressure on him – but insisted he’s ready to meet that challenge head on.
Signed from Barnsley, where his career had turned sour as McGinn left for Aston Villa in a £3million deal while Dylan McGeouch quit to join Sunderland and Scott Allan returned to Celtic, Mallan knew full well the huge hole that had left in Hibs midfield.
Mallan knows that after a scintillating start to his career in Edinburgh as fans lapped up a string of stunning strikes, his own game has tailed off just as the first half of the season had for Neil Lennon’s side.
The 22-year-old, however, remains confident both he and his team-mates can again reach the heights their early-season form promised while, on a personal basis, he believes he can emulate McGinn’s achievements.
The former Scotland Under-21 player said: “I thrive off the pressure. I don’t want to be as I was last season when I wasn’t feeling the pressure to perform because I wasn’t really playing. I’m at a club where the manager loves me, my team-mates and I have gelled, I’m playing every week. This what I want.
“John had probably put pressure on those who followed him, which shows the kind of player he is. He moved from St Mirren to Hibs and became a totally different player.
“I saw that and it made me want to come to Hibs as well; because of how much he kicked on as a footballer. He’s got his move to Aston Villa now. My thinking was that if he could do it then so could I.
“When I was down south at Barnsley, there was always talk about me going to Hibs so I kept my eye on them, plus I’m a good friend of John so I wanted to know how he was getting on.
“They [Hibs] were great to watch, especially with those three linking up so well together. When they left, people like me who came in wanted to get to their level or maybe even do better.
“I’m so happy to get the opportunity to play at this club. I need to thank the gaffer for that because I had a lot of time out of football when I didn’t play a lot in Barnsley. Now, I’m playing in every game.”