Hibs’ Danny Swanson vows to forget football after his hardest year

Hibernian midfielder Danny Swanson holds his head in his hands after missing a chance during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS.
Hibernian midfielder Danny Swanson holds his head in his hands after missing a chance during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS.
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For Danny Swanson, 2017 will go down as the year he realised a boyhood dream – signing for Hibernian.

Regrettably, it was also a period afflicted by personal tragedy and sorrow.

The death of his friend, Shaun Woodburn 12 months ago, following a horrific 
Hogmanay attack witnessed by Swanson, remains in his 
memory.

The former Hearts playmaker even gave evidence at a trial that led to a 17-year-old being locked up for four years.

An injury-plagued campaign has only compounded Swanson’s woes; Saturday’s start in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock was the 31-year-old’s tenth appearance of the season and his first since 14 October.

With the Premiership on a three-week winter shutdown, the attacking midfielder will take a much-needed break in Dubai before attempting to start afresh when the squad regroup for winter training in Portugal.

“I’m not doing anything, at all,” vowed Swanson.

“I’m completely forgetting about football for a week, then the training camp in Portugal will be a big week for me.

“I’m going to Dubai and will probably do a few bits in the gym. But football is at the back of my mind at the moment.

“It is difficult to shut off. But it’s something I need to do, for me and my wife.

“I’m going away with Dylan [McGeouch] and Martin [Boyle], their wives as well. Hopefully there’s no football talk. It sounds silly but, personally, it’s something I need to do. I need to get away from it for a bit, then come back raring to go.

“It’s been the hardest year of my life. But it’s a new year. I’ve spoken about it enough. It’s been horrendous. I don’t want to forget about it, just use it in the right way. I don’t want to keep going on about it, because everybody knows it’s been tough. I’m going to try to use it right.”

In Hibs head coach Neil Lennon, Swanson has someone he can confide in off the pitch.

The pair have both battled depression in the past and the forward admits the former Celtic manager’s support has been invaluable

He added: “He’s very good. Everyone sees different sides to him but his door is always open. Away from football, he’s a great guy. And he’s helped me a lot.

“Football does help, massively. But I’ve spoken to the manager. Because, it sounds stupid but, when I got injured, it did get in the way. I was just thinking about all sorts of stuff. I don’t know what other players are like – but all I think about, 24 hours a day, is football.”

Swanson played in the weekend stalemate as the hosts came from behind to secure a share of the spoils against 
Kilmarnock.

Kris Boyd opened the scoring after just 69 seconds with a clinical finish before Oli Shaw, three days after being denied a goal that had crossed the line against Hearts, levelled in the 24th minute.

The teenager was left with a simple tap-in after goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald spilled John McGinn’s corner.

Boyd’s goal took him to 12 for the season and propelled him above Hearts great Jimmy Wardhaugh on the all-time top-flight scoring standings with a total of 211. However, the modest Boyd was quick to play tribute to his team-mates for his scoring exploits.

He said: “I don’t think it’s something you ever look at until you’re finished. For me you go game to game trying to score.

“It’s great when you do it but I’m not getting caught up in anything right now. The most important part is doing my job for the team.

“I’ll always get myself in 
positions. I’ve played with a lot of good players who have found me in situations that I have been able to put the ball in the net.”