Hibs revival key to clinching Scott Robertson deal
JUST over six months after he was rebuffed by Scott Robertson, Pat Fenlon has finally succeeded in convincing the midfielder that Easter Road affords him a decent platform to develop his career.
Both the new signing and his gaffer say that speaks volumes for the way Hibs have managed to turn fortunes around this season as the capital club aims for a period of stability and ongoing improvement.
With the club still engaged in negotiations with Montagua, in a bid to extend Jorge Claros’ loan deal to the end of the season, Fenlon insisted that the arrival of Robertson would have no impact on the deal which he hoped would be concluded last night.
“Jorge and Scott are two different types of player,” explained Fenlon, “so if we can manage to hang onto Jorge as well as bringing Scott in, then it is a good bit of business. But it has dragged on so long and had so many twists and turns, I’m reluctant to say too much. In football you just never know. It’s been a drama but we are hoping we can put it to bed.”
But Fenlon is delighted to be able to add Robertson to his squad for tonight’s SPL encounter with Ross County up in Dingwall. “He gives us a different option and hopefully he shouldn’t need too much time to bed down, he knows the league and he has a wealth of experience in that regard so we are delighted to add him to the squad.”
The Scotland international was one of Fenlon’s targets in the summer but, with Hibs coming off the back of a league campaign which saw them scrambling to avoid relegation and with Blackpool interested in his signature, the former Dundee United player opted for a shot at football down south.
“Where we were at the time wasn’t fantastic and he had to look after himself as well and the other side of that is that if you don’t try things like that then you can have a bit of regret,” Fenlon said. “He knows that going down there probably hasn’t worked out as well as he would have liked but he has come back to join a decent club so he can kick on again with his career. He is definitely hungry to prove himself and he is not going to need a lot of time to bed in. He knows the league inside out, he knows the players in it, he knows a bit about the club.
“Sometimes when you bring in a player they need a bit of time to settle in but, hopefully, he can come in and hit the ground running for us.”
That was something Robertson had hoped to do when he joined Blackpool but, as one midfielder after another was enlisted by Ian Holloway, he knew that things were going to be tougher than anticipated.
“I think we had ten central midfielders there. So you can understand why I never got my chance. I spoke to Ian Holloway on several occasions and he never really offered me an explanation as to why I wasn’t playing. He just told me to be patient and my chance would come – and then his chance came and he left.
“Then the new manager came in and said he hadn’t seen me play but he’d liked what he’d seen in training and would give me a chance but I picked up a knock – and then he left! So I never got a look in under him either! Eventually Ian Holloway’s assistant manager took over and he understood my position and said if I wanted to leave he would let me. So when this opportunity came up I felt it was too good to turn down.”
The 27-year-old, who has two full caps for the national team, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal, with Fenlon intent on assembling a settled squad. “I have said we want to try to build something here and that is the key to any kind of success. If you look at the clubs that have done well outside the Old Firm, over a period of time they have built a team and probably we have chopped and changed too much and it’s now time because we have a decent squad and come the end of the season, we could maybe add a couple to it but we still feel we have a squad in place that can keep going and I think it’s important we start to develop that now on the field.
“They are a good group and they work well together and work hard for each other and when you have that at a club, you want to try to develop that.”
While surprised at the way Hibs struggled last term, Robertson said that the league table rarely lies but is confident things are on the up. “They’re in a better position in the league than they were when I left [the SPL] at the end of last season and you can only assume that’s because the manager has done a decent job in turning the team around.
“He has given me a two-and-a-half year contract having been interested me in the past, so I’d like to think I’ll get some gametime and I can show the Hibs fans what I am capable of.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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