Scott Allan feels as if he has come back home after joining Hibs for a third time.
The 27-year-old midfielder signed a pre-contract with the Easter Road club in January, leaving fans to count the days until his return after making such an impact in his previous two spells.
Initially signed by Alan Stubbs, Allan’s performances won him the Championship Player of the Year award and sparked interest from both Rangers and Celtic at the end of that season, before he eventually signed for the Parkhead club.
But his time in the east end of Glasgow turned sour, the former Dundee United playmaker going out on loan to Rotherham, Dundee and then, in the second half of season 2017-18, back in Edinburgh to help Hibs clinch fourth place in the Premiership following their return to the top flight.
Now, having agreed a three-year deal, Allan has insisted he’s back “for the long haul”, saying: “Before signing the pre-contract, I’d obviously heard for a few months beforehand that Hibs were still interested and everyone knew I wanted to come back. As soon as January came around and I got speaking to George Craig and Leeann Dempster again it was an easy choice to make. We tried to get it done in January. It wasn’t to be and I had to wait a few months. But I’m just happy to be back.
“I just feel at home here. I’ve played my best football here, I want to give back because the fans have given me a lot over the years. I’m here for the long haul and looking forward to it.
“If I do the business on the park then I know I’ll get the love from the fans. I think I’m a better player now than the one who left. Honestly, I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
Allan had already met new head coach Paul Heckingbottom and his assistant Robbie Stockdale as they offered him their views on how they want Hibs to play. He told Hibs TV: “It was an in-depth look at how we’re looking to play and where the manager sees me fitting in. He knows what I can bring and the fans know what I can bring.
“For me, it’s just about getting up and running as quickly as I can. I feel fit but you do need games for that match sharpness. The presentation, with all the detail, was excellent.”
Allan hasn’t played as much football as he would have liked over the past year but, nevertheless, he insisted he is in good shape, saying: “It’s been a tough year but I found out a lot about myself. It’s given me a lot of drive that I will take into the new season.
“Physically, I’m in good condition. It’s just that match sharpness, which I think will come back to me quickly. The League Cup games coming thick and fast will work in my favour.”