Jason Naismith spent deadline day racing around England’s national training centre, looking to secure a route to Easter Road but now he is hoping to help Hibernian find their way back to where the fans expect them to be, at the top end of the league and vying for trophies.
It has been an unconvincing start to the new season by Paul Heckingbottom’s men and the style of play, allied to some slow-starting signings, a stuttering performance in the League Cup and a poor points haul from the first few league games has left the Leith gaffer under pressure and looking for solutions.
Having branded his players soft and weak in their last outing, Heckingbottom believes Naismith is the kind of character who can help redress that balance and the full-back has proved an uncompromising and committed player while at the likes of Ross County and St Mirren in the past.
But having spent the international break sussing out his new team-mates, Naismith, who has signed on a season-long loan, insists there is enough spirit and quality throughout the squad to ensure they start claiming the results they need to pull themselves up the standings, with today’s trip to Rugby Park the first opportunity to prove it.
“Maybe we just need that one result to kick on and get the season going,” he said. “It sometimes just needs that one result and obviously we are away to Killie this weekend and if we win there then that is a great result. It could be the catalyst for things to come.”
Despite the perceived doom and gloom, the latest recruit had no qualms about joining and says he has had no reason to regret that decision.
Having falling out of favour at Peterborough, he jumped at the chance to sign for the Leith club, which is why he was charging about St George’s training ground as the transfer deadline approached.
“I would come here at the best of times, so it was a no-brainer,” he added. “I am just buzzing every day coming in to work. It is good to get that feeling back and hopefully I can turn that into something good and it will show in my performances. But the day itself was mega stressful because the deal was on and off about 15 times so I was just glad to get it done to be honest.
“I was in Peterborough training that morning and I was told that the Hibs thing was happening but then it was off, then it was happening. My head was all over the place but eventually that night we managed to get it done.
“Luckily the physio was at St George’s, which is only about an hour and a half from Peterborough, so I was in the car and trying to get there in time to get a medical done and get everything signed.”
But even then, things were not straightforward, as Naismith’s temperamental sat-nav struggled to cope with the unwelcome addition of roadworks en route.
“I was trying to find my way along all the country roads to get to St George’s complex. There were diversions as well and I was thinking ‘this just isn’t happening’. It felt like it maybe wasn’t meant to be but, luckily, I got there in time.
“I got there late, it was after 10pm, and I was running around the complex and I think they must have thought I was a mad Scotsman running about the place trying to find where I needed to be. I think I was about the only Scottish guy there and I was rushing about looking for a Hibs physio. It was quite funny and you had to laugh but we got it done so that was the main thing.”
Getting things done and grinding out results is what Heckingbottom wants to see from all his players and Naismith can’t wait to play his part. “The quality of training has been good and maybe we just need that one result to kick on and get the season going,” he said.