The 24-year-old follows hard on the heels of Coventry City stopper James McPake who has returned to Easter Road on a permanent basis and the earlier capture of Motherwell defender Tim Clancy. Like McPake and Clancy, Partick Thistle midfielder Cairney has signed a two-year deal, joining Fenlon’s squad today for the start of pre-season training.
Fenlon revealed he’d been tracking the former Queen’s Park player for some time, believing he will add “something different” to his side’s attacking armoury.
The Hibs manager said: “Paul has been on our radar for a while now and we’re delighted to add him to the squad. He will offer us something different.
“He is a midfielder who likes to get forward and is always looking to spark the game into life.
“He can play in a number of positions both in midfield and in the forward areas and can finish well when he gets the chance. Paul has also got a fantastic attitude and never hides in a game.
“He is always looking to get on the ball. Plus he has the drive and ambition to help us to move forward as a team.”
Cairney, who scored 12 goals in 37 appearances for Partick last season, said: “It’s absolutely amazing to sign for Hibs, it’s definitely the highlight of my career so far. But this is just the start of it, now I want to show the Hibs fans what I’m all about. Hibs are a massive club, everything is in place for us to kick on and have a strong season.”
Having urged supporters to be patient as he sets about rebuilding a squad which has struggled over the past couple of seasons, Fenlon’s plans are now picking up pace, with protracted negotiations proving productive as McPake, an inspirational figure during his loan spell last term, put pen to paper over the weekend. The 28-year-old, who will retain the captain’s armband, immediately promised better things to come. He said: “It’s looking very likely that there will be no Rangers in the SPL and that’s got its positives and negatives. It will be disappointing not to face them but on the other side there’s one less good team in the league. That gives teams like Hibs, Hearts and Dundee United the chance to try to put in a challenge to Celtic.”
McPake’s return will be welcomed by the Hibs support who had him at the head of their summer wish list and the former Livingston star revealed they had a part to play in his return. He said: “I felt at home at the club and I developed a special relationship with the supporters. I’m excited to be part of what will be a new-look Hibs team. When the fans see stuff progressing with a couple of signings coming, I’m sure they will get behind us.”
Three down, but more to come insisted Fenlon today, the Irishman saying: “We’re pleased with the progress we’re making on the transfer front but we’re hopeful we can add some more new faces in the near future.”