Repaying faith and full pre-season: Kyle Magennis is ready to shine at Hibs

Performance levels in sport are so often affected by confidence, so when Kyle Magennis talks about the support he has received from his manager Jack Ross, you can understand why he has started the 2021/22 campaign so well.

Hibs midfielder Kyle Magennis challenges Liam Donnelly during the 3-2 win over Motherwell.
Hibs midfielder Kyle Magennis challenges Liam Donnelly during the 3-2 win over Motherwell.

Magennis found it difficult last season to force his way into the Hibs team after a six-figure move from St Mirren to Easter Road in October. Much was expected of the 22-year-old, who penned a five-year contract. Following the same career path from Paisley to Leith that John McGinn took, and given Hibs had just missed out on Ross McCrorie to Aberdeen, there were heightened expectations from supporters. Such lengthy deals are not handed out often. But Magennis struggled with niggly injuries, and then contracted Covid-19. He only completed a full 90 minutes once, and that was on the last day of the league term against Celtic.

Competition for places in midfield is high after Jake Doyle-Hayes’ arrival this summer and the return to fitness of Scott Allan, but Magennis was given the nod on the opening day of the cinch Premiership away at Motherwell, scoring a goal and putting in a man-of-the-match display.

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Magennis is all action, prepared to do whatever is needed in midfield. He has plenty of energy, is combative, can spot a pass and isn’t afraid to get up and join the forward players. Crucially, he appears to be enjoying his football again.

"It was really difficult at the start, but these things happen in football,” Magennis said as he looked back the tough start to his Hibs career. “You just need to get your head down and deal with it and hopefully none of that happens this year, I get an injury-free year and kick on from it.

"It's always good working with a manager who knows what you are capable of. He just kept saying to me last year, 'don't worry about it, I'll always believe in you, just get your head down, get fit and we'll take it as we go'.

"Against Motherwell, it was a good game to be involved in and I'm just buzzing that we won the game, obviously coming back from 2-1 down shows good character. That's the way we need to be this season.

"I didn't really know much about the goal, to be fair, it just bounced off me and went in. Hopefully I can kick on from here. It's the first full pre-season I've had in two years. I'm feeling fit and it shows on the park."

Magennis also got a lift from the near-2000 Hibs fans that made the trip to Fir Park to cheer on their team – their first away trip since March 7, 2020, away at Aberdeen. "It gives you a massive boost,” said Magennis. “Even when you are down, they are still cheering you on. Obviously when you score, it's so much different celebrating in front of fans instead of empty seats.”

As well as his goal, Magennis ought to have had a penalty too, when Jake Carroll fouled him in the box. "I've watched it back and I think it's a penalty,” added Magennis, who has enough positives to focus on. “But I'm not going to dwell on it, we won the game and got the three points.”

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