Dylan McGeouch 'open to everything' as ex-Hibs and Aberdeen star opens up on his search for a new club

If you were to consider the best midfield trios or partnerships in Scottish football in recent years the Dylan McGeouch – John McGinn – Scott Allan axis at Hibs is worthy of your time.

For four months it was a captivating combination as Neil Lennon’s side lost just once in 14 matches to finish fourth in their return to the top-flight.

There was no defensive midfielder, no enforcer, no individual who ‘loves a tackle’. It was a trio who were built to control a game of football, get the ball down and entertain. If they had to they could mix it but it was all about playing and creating chances. Hibs scored in all 14 of those matches, hitting five twice.

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John McGinn was the meatball in a play-making sandwich. Scott Allan the No.10, Dylan McGeouch the deep-lying playmaker.

Ask fans who was the most influential presence of that three and, despite what he has gone on to produce in England and for Scotland, McGinn wouldn’t be the unanimous answer. In fact, he may not even be the most popular answer. For many, McGeouch was the conductor pulling the strings at the base of the midfield, setting the tempo and enhancing those around him.

“I was playing that sitting midfield role,” McGeouch told The Scotsman. “Usually you think, a guy who can run and tackle but we used it more as a play-maker. To get on the ball and make players ahead better, giving them the opportunity to score goals and express themselves.

"If I had to put my foot in I’d do it, but more often than not we put our foot on the ball and passed it really well. The fans really took to it.”

Puzzling situation

Dylan McGeouch is on the hunt for a new club after leaving Aberdeen. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

That serves as a reminder to the talent of McGeouch who had the trust and belief of Alan Stubbs then Lennon and Garry Parker. Yet, he, like his former team-mate Scott Allan, is still on the lookout for a club with the new league season fast approaching.

Still just 29, it is a puzzling situation.

A technically-excellent midfielder who can play different roles within different systems. Capable of taking the ball under pressure, keeping the ball, progressing it and providing an awareness, vision and intelligence, both in and out of possession. Clubs should be forming a queue.

As he assesses his next move, balance is key, between getting in at a club “as soon as possible” but “waiting on the right move”.

McGeouch was a hugely popular and important player for Hibs. Picture: SNS
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A frustrating aspect for McGeouch, who harbours “no hard feelings” over his exit from Aberdeen after Jim Goodwin informed him there would be no contract offer, is that he has been available for selection for the vast majority of his time at the Dons and Sunderland but not quite found the same rhythm and run of his games he did at Hibs.

He is “keeping his options open", whether it be Scotland, England or abroad.

“It is an important one,” McGeouch said. “I’ve not played a lot of football the last two years, sitting on the bench. I need to make sure it is the right move to go kick-start my career again.

"I’m open to everything. It’s something I’ve been saying to my agent. If it is the right move I am happy to do it. I’m at a good age. Hopefully something comes up sooner rather than later and I can get myself back in.

McGeouch harbours "no hard feelings" over his Aberdeen exit. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“When you are looking at clubs you look at the manager, the style, how he wants to play. I don’t think there is any use in me going to a team where they just want to launch the ball.”

Family, replicating pre-season & Mansfield

Currently based in Aberdeen until his future is sorted, McGeouch may well have turned some heads in the city, taking to public parks and the local gym, using the knowledge he has picked up over the years to ensure he is in the right condition to hit the ground running when he goes into his next club.

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He has already spent two weeks with Mansfield Town. The time at the English League Two side was useful in showing he is in a good place physically.

"When I was leaving Hibs I was a free agent but had something lined up but this is the first time I have had a period off,” he said.

“It’s been okay to be fair. I've been able to spend some time with the family, my little one. But you’ve got to get back in.

"I’ve been working away myself, just trying to keep myself fit, doing what I can on the grass and in the gym. So when the right move comes I’m ready to fit right in.

“Knowing the stuff I need to do to replicate the pre-season, my own ball stuff, pitch runs, gym stuff, just doing everything I think I should be doing during pre-season so I’m not far behind. I don’t want to be sitting about and then having to play catch-up when I go in somewhere.”

‘Hard work pays off’

The mental side is important for free agents. Going from a dressing room environment to the solitude of the treadmill or the park. Routine is key, while McGeouch has also touched base with Allan in Glasgow with football-specific coaching sessions.

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“It's Monday-Friday, make sure I’m doing something every day, in the gym or on the grass,” McGeouch explained. “Sometimes double sessions. Just trying to keep myself right which I always do anyway but it is important during pre-season that I am as fit as possible when I do go in somewhere.

“You are seeing players and teams are back on social media. For me it is just about trying to keep positive, trying to be patient. Hopefully the right option comes along. It’ll hopefully be worth it in the long run.

"It has been tough at times but just trusting what I’m doing and that if I get in somewhere all the hard work has paid off.”

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