KEVIN THOMSON has talked a lot about his frustration at seeing Hibs struggle while he has watched on helplessly from the sidelines, writes Moira Gordon. He insists he has been available for selection for the majority of Terry Butcher’s reign but his manager says that is not strictly true.
“I suppose it has been frustrating for me that I have not been able to lend as much of a hand as we would like to. I am not beating about the bush about how much I want to play. I have been available for four of the six months the manager has been in, maybe five at a push,” says the former club captain.
Ask him if he knows why he hasn’t played a bigger role until recently and Thomson insists: “It’s a question you need to ask the manager.”
He may not like the fact that, when his manager was quizzed, he wasn’t so coy.
“He wasn’t fit,” states Butcher. “He hadn’t reached a level of fitness and I said until you get to that level of fitness then I’m not going to put you into the team. I said you need to be able to last games and have an influence. He is fit now and played last week and he is certainly in contention for this week, too. It’s taken him a while to get to that level of fitness and he’s had a few setbacks.”
A reinstated Thomson could play a vital role in keeping Hibs in the top flight. The final few fixtures are full of danger and it will take brave performances to safeguard Premiership status, starting against Hearts this afternoon. The midfielder spoke out after last weekend’s defeat by St Mirren, slamming the Hibs players. That element of his psyche impressed Butcher.
“He has been vociferous too, like Ben Williams, which has been great, sometimes you need that,” adds Butcher.
But Scotland international Thomson says he doesn’t have a quick cure-all solution to all the squad’s ills.
“A lot of the young boys ask me for advice and think I have got the answer for everything. I might think I have, but I tell them you sometimes just need to learn as you go along and I have had to do that through my career. I can think back to defining moments when I was playing or moving, when I got into the team, when I got injured, I have had loads of them and they are going to need to learn the ropes as they go along.
“Of course, I can be there to give them advice and tell what happened for me but what happened for me might not happen for them. They need to just ride the wave and when the good times come along they need to grab it with both hands and show everybody how talented they are.”
Out of contract in the summer, he would love to extend his stay and see the players who survive a cull learn from the experiences of this term.
“Look across the road, the young [Hearts] boys have had to deal with loads. Football is cut-throat. Unfortunately, you have got to go through the good and bad of football. When the bad comes, you think ‘where did that come from?’ because you think it is all rosy. I tell them all it’s far from all rosy, you have to enjoy the good and take the bad.
“Unfortunately for the kids that have come into the team this year, it’s been more probably not so good but the good times could be just round the corner and they have to strive for them.”