The midfielder’s pre-contract deal was agreed before Heckingbottom took over from Neil Lennon in February but, after a chat with the 27-year-old, who stood out in his two previous spells in Leith but is now looking to make up for lost time after his 2015 move to Celtic turned sour, the Easter Road boss was happy to honour the agreement.
And having seen him up close in pre season training, he says he has big plans for the playmaker.
“He is a creative spark, without a doubt. I have already spoken to him about what I have seen in his game and didn’t expect,” he said, refusing to elaborate on exactly what he has pinpointed. “I will be pushing him on and if we can get it and it is what we think it might be it will be a real benefit for the team,” he added rather cryptically. “I’m looking forward to it and to getting him on the pitch and really pushing him.”
Heckingbottom had seen him play when he was on loan at Rotherham United and he apparently never tires of reminding Allan that his Barnsley team battered them 4-0 on that day, in August 2017.
“I have shown him a few of those clips!” he admitted. But he says there are always lessons to be learned. “It’s his third spell here and he’d say now, ‘Why have I left twice?’ It seems to be his home, where he plays well, and enjoys it. Hopefully we can take him on again, to be even better.”
Often considered a luxury, who was at his best operating alongside the complementary John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch, Allan must now fit into a new line-up. “He’ll have to knuckle down,” added the manager. “You can’t have anybody not contributing without the ball. Scott knows that. But he can do it. We’ve spoken about it. I’m looking forward to getting that side out of that.
“Every manager is different and I will be asking him to do different things to previous managers but the one thing that none of us can do is give him that ability on the ball.
“He is really comfortable on the ball and accepts it in good areas for our team and we will have to get the most out of him.”