Hibs new boy Fraser Mullen today revealed how he’s determined to carve out a long-term career at Easter Road after being thrown on the soccer scrap-heap by Capital rivals Hearts.
The 19-year-old, pictured right in Hibs’ new away kit for season 2013/14, admitted he feared he may have to drop down a level after being told he was no longer wanted at Tynecastle, and was “shocked” to hear of Pat Fenlon’s interest, believing Hibs would be the last club to make a move for him.
But the offer of a one-year contract was, he declared, too good to ignore and now he is already looking to impress Fenlon sufficiently to have his stay on the other side of Edinburgh extended beyond that period.
Asked what his initial reaction had been when he learned Hibs were pursuing his signature, Mullen, who suffered a broken foot in the derby at Easter Road in March, said: “I was shocked at the time. When I first heard I was taken aback because I would never have expected it. I didn’t have a clue they would come in for me.
“But I couldn’t turn the chance down. I had a think about the other offers I had and Hibs were the best one. I’m not from Edinburgh, I’m not a Hibs or a Hearts supporter and that made things a bit easier for me. I just thought about it as a football player and a job. It was the best offer I had so I signed.
“I’ve just signed for a year so I have to get myself fully match-fit because I’ve been out for a long time injured. I just need to get back into playing and, if I do well enough, hopefully I can get it extended. It’s just a straightforward one-year deal with no option to extend it so it’s up to me to prove I’m worth keeping for longer.
“Every day in training and in games I’ll have to give my all and try to do well.”
Having scored a spectacular free-kick on his debut as Hibs faced the Gibraltar national team, Mullen will get another chance to lay claim to the right-back berth for next Thursday’s Europa League clash with Malmo – the Swedish side having defeated Drogheda 2-0 last night – when Fenlon’s players conclude their preparation for the second round qualifying tie by playing Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park tonight.
With Tim Clancy still recovering from surgery on the groin complaint which dogged him last season, Mullen is aware the door has been thrown open but he’s also conscious he’ll have to contend with the experience of the former Kilmarnock and Motherwell defender once he is fully fit.
He said: “It’s the last proper pre-season game before we go into Europe so hopefully after tonight that will be all the boys ready to go. It’s the last game so everyone will be trying their best to get a place in the team so that makes tonight a bigger game.
“Malmo are maybe not household names but if you can get through that stage there will be a lot of big teams in it.”
Meanwhile, Falkirk chairman Martin Ritchie has warned clubs coveting Lyle Taylor he won’t sell until the Bairns’ valuation of a striker who scored 29 goals last season is met. Hibs are said to have had two bids for the 23-year-old turned down, with Falkirk believed to be holding out for £200,000, while English outfit Rotherham claimed they’d been unable to agree terms with the player.
However, Ritchie insisted Falkirk hadn’t received an acceptable bid, adding: “Lyle Taylor has been the subject of speculation, He has his career aspirations and we all know he is more than capable of playing at a higher level. He is contracted for this season and can play a large part in our push for promotion and play-off places.
“It will therefore take a very good offer for us to part with him. To date, we have had no offer which meets our