DYLAN McGeouch believes that Callum McGregor is the ideal example for him to follow as he hopes his season-long loan at Hibs will revitalise his Celtic career. McGregor, like McGeouch a midfielder, was on loan at Notts County last season before returning to Parkhead to play a big part in new manager Ronny Deila’s plans.
Having been on loan at Coventry in the second half of last season, the 21-year-old McGeouch has become a more peripheral member of the Celtic playing staff than his younger clubmate was. But he still thinks he can play his way back into contention for next season by playing his part in Hibs’ promotion push from the Championship.
“Callum is a perfect example and it’s one I’ll hopefully remember,” McGeouch said yesterday. “He went down there, did really well and he hit the ground running when he came back up. He’s flying this year and he’s in the Scotland squad. It’s excellent – it’s good to see. It gives people like myself a wee glimpse of what a loan move can do for you. He did well with Notts County so they have benefited as well and it’s something I’ll try to do here as well.
“Still being in Scotland as well, people are always watching you and Hibs are a big club.
I want to play as much as possible and then use that to go back to Celtic. I’ll give everything for the team – try and get results and hopefully we can get up the table.
“For myself, it’s getting games, going back to Celtic and seeing where it takes me with the manager. I’m concentrating on my time here: I’m here until the end of the season and that’s where my focus is just now.”
If McGeouch’s career has lost direction over the past couple of years, something similar, but on a far greater scale, could be said of Hibs.
They are out to record just their second league win of the season at home to bottom-of-the-table Cowdenbeath this afternoon, and, even allowing for the series of self-inflicted calamities which they tend to endure, this is one match they should win. And if they do pick up the three points, McGeouch feels they will have embarked, not before time, on the long road to recovery. “It’s a massive club and we don’t think we should be in this league,” he said. “They were a wee bit unlucky last year, but it’s a club with great fans and a great stadium. I’m coming here to get games and hopefully we can get ourselves as high up the table as possible.
“Nobody expected a club like Hibs to go down, it’s all about seeing where we are now. There’s nothing we can do about it now – we just need to pick ourselves up. We’ve not had the best of starts, but hopefully we can turn performances into results.
“I’m getting older, so you want to get some games and experience under your belt. Hopefully I can do that here and also help the club get back up to where it belongs.”
Hibs manager Alan Stubbs is satisfied with the quality of the signings he has made, and remains convinced that, by and large, his team have been performing well despite the unimpressive results. “For us to have hit the ground running with what we’ve had to do would have been beyond our wildest dreams,” he said. “We’ve brought more or less half a squad in, and that was always going to be a big ask.
“I think my signings have been good – have been very good, in fact. I’m going to say that, but I actually do believe that. They’ve made the group stronger, they’ve performed well, but overall we need to be better. There’s no-one knows that more than me.
“I think we’ve got to be able to win ugly. The performances have been good, but we haven’t necessarily got the reward for them. We’re going to have to win some games by rolling our sleeves up and maybe being a 1-0. That’s what the players have to be prepared to do.
“Sometimes in football it’s hard getting that one win, but once you get it everything starts to snowball. That’s literally where we are.
“I do feel that mentally we’ve got to be stronger. We’ve got to dig in and show a bit of steeliness in matches.”
While content with the signings he has made so far, Stubbs still hopes to add Lewis Toshney to his squad provided he can agree terms with the former Celtic defender.
“Lewis has been training with us this week. It’s a conversation that I’ll have, to see whether we can explore it. Obviously we have a budget, and if we can do something we’ll try and do it. If we can’t. we can’t.
“It’s quite a simple one, really. We’ve got a budget, every club’s got one – I’ll ask the question and see where it goes.”
The 22-year-old, a free agent after being released by Celtic in the summer, was out of action with a knee injury last season. He trained with Hearts recently, but the Tynecastle club decided not to offer him a deal.