Scott Allan claims he was a casualty of residual bad blood between Celtic and Hibernian and says it cost him months of his career.
The midfielder, about to embark on his third spell with Hibs, did not play a minute of competitive football last season after being frozen out by Celtic.
The relationship between the two clubs deteriorated last summer following the Parkhead club’s failed bid for John McGinn. The champions refused to meet the Easter Road side’s asking price for the player who eventually signed for Aston Villa.
But Allan was caught in the crossfire of the lingering ill will between the clubs. In January, he signed a pre-contract to join Hibs in the summer but hoped to accelerate his return to Leith that month. However, Celtic refused and he was left languishing in the reserves.
“I think that is the issue, definitely,” said Allan, 27. “On deadline night I was battering my phone – but nothing happened. There were other factors, obviously between the two clubs, and I was in the middle of it. It just wasn’t to be. When I was being lined up to come here in January, the fact that it didn’t happen was nothing to do with me.
“I wanted to leave. But it was between the two clubs. I wasn’t allowed to leave. It wasn’t like there were higher forces working against me or anything. I was just the guy caught in the middle, caught between the clubs.”
That wasted time has made Allan more determined to recapture the form he showed in his two previous stints at Hibs. “It was hard not to get the deal through in January but that has just given me more fire going into this season.”