KEVIN Thomson had a low-key return to Easter Road yesterday, coming on for the last five minutes of the Edinburgh derby and getting no more than the odd touch, but, having not played at all since being released by Middlesbrough earlier this year, the midfielder was simply happy to be involved again.
“I’m delighted,” said the 28-year-old, who has agreed to play for Hibs without basic pay for the rest of the season. “I love playing football and I want to play football, and it’s the first time I’ve been on a park for seven or eight weeks.
“So it was nice to come on, and the reception was really touching. I wasn’t really worried about that – if the fans wanted to boo me then so be it, I can’t change that. All I can do is try my best and I can guarantee that’s what I’ll be doing.”
Thomson became unpopular with many Hibs supporters after leaving Easter Road for Rangers in 2007, but he maintained good relations with the club and was given a warm welcome when he asked if he could train with Pat Fenlon’s squad. The aim was simply to regain match sharpness, but eventually a deal was struck.
“It wasn’t something I thought about to start with, but the more I trained and the more I worked with the manager, the more I wanted to play football. I had a few deals that fell through at the last minute and there was a wee bit of frustration there on my part so, in the end, I asked the manager if I could play and, thankfully, he was impressed enough to think I could try to help the boys.
“I just want to do my best for the club. Whether I move on or not, football is one of those things where you don’t really know what is around the corner.
“So I’ll give my all for the next two months and we’ll see where we are in the summer. The manager has set his stall out to try to finish in the top six and that’s our objective. The boys here are more than good enough to be in the top six, so it’s almost out of the question that we don’t finish there.
“I just wanted to help the club and I’d like to say it’s probably the only club in Britain I would play for nothing for. I’m here playing for nothing and I’ll give my all. If people want to praise me for that then great. If not, I’m still going to go about my business and try my best for the team.”
Having still been on the bench when Leigh Griffiths delivered his 35-yard free-kick, Thomson said he had an excellent view of the ball crossing the goal-line. “It was miles in. I was jumping up and down celebrating.
“I was right on the byeline when he hit it. It doesn’t matter if it was half an inch or a yard – it was in. But that’s part and parcel of football.”