TELLING the man who has revitalised your career that you no longer wish to play for him is not an easy step to take.
So, for Scott Allan, the most difficult moment in the saga which surrounded his departure from Hibs was when he slapped in his transfer request to Alan Stubbs at the end of last month.
It came after Rangers had seen their second bid for Allan rejected out of hand by the Easter Road club, leaving the midfielder feeling he had to take action in an attempt to facilitate the move he craved.
That move, of course, finally happened in less anticipated circumstances when Celtic dramatically gazumped Rangers and secured Allan’s services on a four-year contract late last Friday night.
The 23-year-old is now grateful that the bond he forged with Stubbs was not broken by the stance he took.
“It was a big decision to ask Hibs for a transfer, given the relationship I have with Alan Stubbs,” reflected Allan, whose outstanding form under the Hibs manager earned him the PFA Scotland Championship Player of the Year award last season.
I’m definitely going to have to be patient... but when I get my chance, take itScott Allan
“He has been brilliant with me. He understood my reasons for the transfer request and I understood Hibs’ reasons for not being too happy with it.
“But I had to take my career to the next level and I think this is the right place for me to progress. Alan Stubbs and myself have still had a lot of contact and I spoke to him before I signed for Celtic on Friday.”
Allan was dropped from the Hibs’ starting line-up for their first two matches of the season against Rangers and Montrose with Stubbs reasoning that the distraction caused by the Ibrox club’s pursuit of the player could adversely affect his performances.
“I’m not too sure about that, because, if I’m picked to play, I will always give it 100 per cent,” added Allan.
“That’s my job and it’s what I love doing. I just lost a wee bit of focus here and there, but, at the end of the day, it’s just part of the job. It gets played up a wee bit. But I had to stay focused and do a job for Hibs on the park when I was asked. Now I’m just looking forward to getting started here.
‘My mindset is always that way. If you let things outside your football affect you, then you are not going to go on and do good things.
“For me, it’s about when I am out on the park. That’s when I come to life and that’s why I play football.
“So, it was disappointing not to be in the starting line-up, but I can respect Alan Stubbs’ decision.
“I spoke to Alan about Celtic. He told me to work hard but also told me it would be a different lifestyle away from football.
“He was delighted for me. I have a lot to thank him for now I am sitting here. He gave me a platform to play and believed in me.
“Some managers don’t want you to express yourself like he did. His man-management was brilliant with me.”
While holding down a first -team place with Hibs in the second tier of Scottish football was something Allan managed with aplomb, his abilities will clearly be far more severely tested with the Scottish champions.
He has, after all, not started a top-flight league match of any description since lining up for Dundee United against Aberdeen in October 2011, shortly before his move to West Bromwich Albion, where he was unable to make the first-team breakthrough.
But despite the presence of a plethora of creative midfielders already in the Celtic squad, Allan has no doubts about his capacity to shine and improve under Ronny Deila.
“I believe in my own ability and the chance to train with better players is only going to make you an even better player,” said Allan.
“Most of my play is reading other people’s moves and picking my passes. Celtic have the quality here to allow me to do more of that.
“I am older now and have learned a lot from my experiences down south. I took everything on board and wasn’t going to let this chance pass me by. When I spoke to Ronny Deila, he told me his plans for me. I think he is the right man to progress my game and the reason I came here is because I think it is the best place for me to develop as a footballer.
‘The manager just told me that if I have the workrate in my game, then the other side I’ve got is the easy part. He thinks I can become a much better player.
“I’m definitely going to have to be patient. It’s a massive club, I just need to work hard, improve my game and when I get my chance, take it.
“I’ve already played with a few of the Celtic lads at Dundee United and their games have developed by coming here. Hopefully I can do the same.
‘I think the fact Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven are here will help. They were good with me when I first came and I also know James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths from the Scotland under-21s. When you have that, then it is easy to settle in.
“It’s not like going into the unknown and they have all been brilliant with me.”
Allan believes the grounding he received at Tannadice remains his most valuable asset as he now looks to maximise his potential as a Celtic player.
“I had the chance several times as a kid to sign for Rangers and Celtic,” he said.
“But I liked the way I was treated at Dundee United. All of the young players there got their chance to play. If they saw something in you, they pushed you on and that worked for me.
“I’m just delighted to have come to Celtic now.
“It’s a great opportunity for me, going up a division and having the chance to play European football. It’s a place where I know I will progress.”