Glenn Middleton reveals Paul Heckingbottom phonecall sealed the Hibs deal

Glenn Middleton has revealed how he took the unusual step of calling Paul Heckingbottom after hearing of his interest in signing him on a season-long loan.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 6:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 7:30 am
Glenn Middleton is unveiled at Hibernian Training Centre
Glenn Middleton is unveiled at Hibernian Training Centre

The Rangers winger was on the brink of completing a similar deal with Dutch outfit NAC Breda but had his mind set on a move to Easter Road after speaking to Heckingbottom.

And what he heard from the Hibs head coach, who had to act quickly after Martin Boyle was ruled out for months following a second knee operation, was backed up by Ryan Porteous, Fraser Murray and Oli Shaw, team-mates in the Scotland Under-21 squad.

Revealing he has high hopes of being involved in Saturday’s Betfred Cup tie against Morton, the 19-year-old said: “I am very hungry. I have a big desire to succeed and do well.”

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Middleton made 28 appearances for Rangers last season, including nine in the Europa League playing against the likes of Villareal, Spartak Moscow and Rapid Vienna, scoring five goals, one of which came against the Russians.

But with Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard having strengthened his squad this summer he had dropped down the pecking order and was considering a move to the Netherlands before Heckingbottom intervened.

Asked what attracted him to Edinburgh rather than Eerste Divisie (the Dutch second division), Middleton said: “When you get the opportunity to play for this sort of club and the stature of this league you cannot turn that opportunity down.

“The way the manager spoke to me on the phone, the things he was saying about the club I was pretty much set in my mind that I wanted to come here.”

Nevertheless, he sought further advice, speaking not only to Porteous, Murray and Shaw but Steven Whittaker, who he knows from his days as a youth at Norwich, as well as Scotland Under-21 coach Scot Gemmill. He said: “It’s always good to get a couple of different opinions and people were saying this was the right option to take.

“I like to be direct, make things happen whether that’s me scoring goals, making assists or making things happen for my team-mates.

“Hopefully we can have a good season for me personally and as a team.”