'He'll definitely excite fans': Harry McKirdy Hibs appraisal after FIFA grant transfer
The three-year deal was left in the balance after a testing round of negotiations dragged on close to the agreed cut-off point in Scotland and while Hibs concluded their administrative commitments, selling club Swindon Town were marginally late in submitting their forms.
With no firm timelines for the process, it was feared that it could take days or even weeks for the go-ahead. The worst case scenario would have seen the governing associations ruling against them, leaving the 25-year-old striker on the sidelines until January.
However, having provided a deal sheet detailing transaction times, Hibs have been given the green light to include their acquisition in the squad for Saturday’s Premiership head-to-head with Kilmarnock.
Looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat in Paisley, the player has been heralded as one who will “excite the fans”, and with 25 goals and ten assists in just over a season at the County Ground, Hibs assistant manager Jamie McAllister believes the coluorful striker could have a significant impact.
The coaching No 2 will deputise for boss Lee Johnson, who underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder on Thursday, and he reeled off a number of positive attributes the new signing offers a team struggling for consistency.
“He has bags of ability, he’s infectious on and off the pitch,” said McAllister. “He can unlock the door with that quality final pass, and can go past people one on one. He’s a matchwinner. He’ll definitely excite the fans.”
McKirdy, who scored two goals in his five appearances for League Two Swindon this season, also has a hot-headed streak and has an outstanding one match ban to serve, after he threw a protein shake at the wall of the officials dressing room following a sending off last month.
That will not kick in until 14 days after his registration, clearing him for the Killie and Dundee United tussles but, probably, ruling him out of the home game, against Aberdeen.
“He’s a character but that’s not a challenge. We’ve all got flaws, he’s just different to the norm. You should have seen some of the gear he was in last night, it was interesting!
“But, he’s confident in his ability, and isn’t just wacky off the pitch, he produces on it, which is important. Everyone has different personalities but as soon as you cross that white line, if you can contribute then it’s a great addition.
“You think back to the big characters of years ago and the influence they had on the dressing room and on the pitch, and as a management team you have just got to get the best of them on a match day and manage them off the pitch.”
Making three signings before the window shut, the club can also call on Old Trafford loanee Will Fish.
“Will is a quality centre-back. He’s been at Manchester United and is a quality defender on and off the ball. He went to Stockport last year and didn’t get the game time he wanted so this is an opportunity for him.”
Ukrainian striker Mykola Kukharevych is still waiting for his visa.
“They all have different qualities to add to the group, which gives us strength,” said the Hibs assistant. “The big man gives us a target man option. He has that 6’2” presence, pace, he can link up, and can run in behind.”
He will not be the only frustrated figure kicking his heels on Saturday, although Johnson is unlikely to back off completely.
“[The gaffer] will watch the game and we’ll be linked up. He’ll want to be involved in every second and every action,” explained McAllister, who oversaw a victory the last time he was left to his own devices, in a pre-season friendly, when Johnson caught covid while Sunderland boss. “He was linked up via the phone that day and at times I needed to take the earpiece out!”