Hibs attackers Kevin Nisbet and Jamie Gullan already on same wavelength

Raith boss John McGlynn says forwards have ‘telepathic understanding’

Hibs forwards Jamie Gullan, left, and Kevin Nisbet are back in tandem after previously linking up at Raith Rovers. Picture: SNS Group
Hibs forwards Jamie Gullan, left, and Kevin Nisbet are back in tandem after previously linking up at Raith Rovers. Picture: SNS Group

John McGlynn enjoyed a front row seat during the development of both Kevin Nisbet and Jamie Gullan and he has no doubts that Hibernian have a couple of players who will bolster the side’s attacking threat.

The Premiership season kicks off this weekend, with the Leith outfit playing host to Kilmarnock as they get their league challenge under way.

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It will be a huge season for Hibs’ starlet Gullan, who was enjoying a decent taste of life in the first team before last term fell foul of the Covid pandemic, while popular summer signing Nisbet will also be under the spotlight.

Raith Rovers boss McGlynn worked with them both a couple of seasons ago, when Gullan’s loan spell at Stark’s Park saw him link up with Nisbet.

“That was the last six months of the season before the one that’s just finished, Jamie played with Kevin at Raith Rovers,” he said. “So there will be a little bit of an understanding. I don’t see them playing as a traditional two up top. I see Jamie more as a wide player cutting inside and Nisbet is an absolute No 9, all day long.

“Jamie can be a No 9 but, for me, he is better as a winger coming in so they can play in the same team and it’s good for Hibs because there is a bit of a telepathic understanding there already and Hibs will be tough to play against with Jamie drifting in and Kevin making his runs.

“Kevin likes to float into that left side area Jamie is likely going to be in and I can see Jamie making runs inside Nisbit to get on the end of Kevin’s assists. Although Kevin’s assists are not as good as his goalscoring record.

“But it means Jack [Ross, the Hibs manager] has options and the more firepower you can get the better. Jamie scores goals, Kevin scores goals, and it doesn’t matter who you are, as a manager, you can never have enough goalscorers in your team.”

Drey Wright has added more pace to the side, to complement that provided by Martin Boyle, while Scott Allan’s creativity and Christian Doidge’s presence and goal return means Hibernian should pack plenty of punch, with several tactical alternatives at their disposal.

While Nisbet had moved onto Dunfermline by the time Gullan returned to Kirkcaldy for another loan spell last term, McGlynn is thrilled to see both of them being given a chance on the Premiership stage by his Hibs counterpart and he does not believe that either will let their capital manager down. “Jamie was very good for us and it was a loss when he went back to his parent club,” said McGlynn.

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“He is a very promising youngster and Jack has given him a fair amount of game time. He obviously benefited from coming out to Raith Rovers and doing well and then going back there and playing well, getting a goal against Inverness in the Scottish Cup. It shows he has the ability and won’t do his confidence any harm.”

Describing the 21-year-old forward as an ambitious and receptive student, who has got better and better each season, McGlynn expects him to make the most of the opportunities he is likely to get due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis on Scottish football.

“When Jamie came back the second time he knew the standard to expect, he is a very, very clever boy and he understood the demands and he delivered,” said McGlynn.

“He is one of the guys who could actually benefit from the current situation. Teams don’t have the same kind of money as they had before and squads won’t be so big and he is a boy who could benefit from that. He has been on the fringe of things and he might get more and more game time. Jack has shown that he trusts him enough to put him in so it could be a big season for Jamie.”

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