ALLY McCoist is already gone, so Scott Allan need not concern himself with showing the former Rangers manager what he is missing this afternoon at Easter Road. In any case, the in-form Hibs midfielder probably already has.
McCoist had the opportunity to sign the former Dundee United starlet in the summer but, for whatever reason, chose not to offer the player terms. McCoist now has plenty of time to sit and ponder the wisdom of that decision, amongst others. Instead, money was invested in the returning veterans Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller.
Neither player has proved quite as successful as hoped and McCoist has now been removed from his position, after first tendering his resignation and signalling his intention to work a 12-month notice period. Allan, in the meantime, has prospered at Hibs, who signed him just before the start of the season. The 23-year-old was impressed by what he heard from Alan Stubbs, the Easter Road manager.
By his own estimation, Allan is playing the most consistent football of his career after belatedly reaching full fitness. Because of the uncertainty about his future he was not able to reap the benefits of a full pre-season. But he has managed to settle into the groove now.
Stubbs recently described him as the best player currently playing in the Championship. More than a few Rangers fans will have found themselves wishing circumstances had been different and Allan, who grew up just miles from Ibrox, was playing for them. Unsurprisingly, he has no inclination to look back.
“I’m just happy to be playing my football at Hibs and progressing,” said Allan.
“A move to Rangers was talked about, but as soon as I spoke to the gaffer here, it was a no-brainer to come to here.
“The manager’s plans for the future and how I could progress and develop under him was the biggest factor in me coming to Hibs. The last couple of months, I’ve been beginning to get back to the form I was at when I was playing regularly before. I’ve managed to get myself a few assists so I’m just hoping to add a few more goals to my game.
“I didn’t have a pre-season, so getting my fitness up was the main thing for me at the start of the season. A run of games is crucial for any player.
“It was nice to hear the manager describe me as the best player in the Championship, but I just want to keep progressing and see where I can take the club come the end of the season.
“I don’t know if it’s the best I’ve played in my career, but it’s certainly the most consistent I’ve been. I’ve had some good games here and there in the past, but I seem to be doing it more consistently now.”
Allan isn’t interested in becoming involved in a “what if?” discussion – Rangers did not offer him the chance to sign, so he is not prepared to waste time wondering how close he was to playing for the away team this afternoon at Easter Road.
“I’m back home, working under the right manager and part of a good squad,” he said, with reference to the time he spent in England with West Bromwich Albion, and then multiple clubs on loan.
“It’s certainly worked out well for me so far. I’m really settled and playing every week. That’s all I’ve wanted for the past few years, a good season, playing week in, week out.
“I’d only played eight or nine times for Dundee United but West Brom had obviously watched me a number times and wanted to take a chance on me. I got 15 games in the Championship at the end of that season, so I definitely got good experience from that. I think anybody would have done the same as me if they got the chance. In football, you never know what’s going to happen, so you’ve got to take the chance when it comes.”
He has few regrets about making the move south after only a handful of first-team appearances for Dundee United. If he would do anything differently, he says, he would have turned more readily to his family for support, rather than try to soldier on without them.
“I’d have brought my family down more often, especially when things weren’t going so well,” recalled Allan. “When it’s not going well, you’ve got a lot to think about.
“I probably learned more off the pitch than I did on it when I was in England. I learned how to live on my own away from home and how to react when things are not going your way.
“I had a good three months on the pitch when I went to Portsmouth, even though they were in administration, but generally I felt I learned more when it wasn’t going so well.”
Allan empathises with those Rangers players he knows, such as David Templeton and Lewis Macleod, with the Ibrox club’s financial struggles to the fore again following Monday’s AGM.
“From my experience at Portsmouth, I found that the football would be the one thing that would take you away from all the off-field stuff that was going on,” he said. “It was a good chance to go and have your say on the pitch. I’d imagine it will be the same for the Rangers players.”