Dylan Tait: New Hibs signing opens up on late-night deal, what Jack Ross said to him and goals for Raith

As the transfer deadline approached last Tuesday night, the message to Dylan Tait was loud and clear: don’t go anywhere.
Dylan Tait is driven to maintain his performance levels for Raith until January.Dylan Tait is driven to maintain his performance levels for Raith until January.
Dylan Tait is driven to maintain his performance levels for Raith until January.

He had been told that Hibs were interested in him and that a deal could be struck. Just 19 years of age, his performances for Raith in the centre of midfield had caught Easter Road boss Jack Ross’ eye. It was just a question of getting the deal done before the window closed at midnight.

"I just heard about it on Tuesday, late on at night,” recalled Tait. “My agent phoned me saying don't go anywhere, Hibs might come in for you. And then he phoned me again later that night saying that I was to head through to Easter Road. I was buzzing.

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"I left [my house] at eight o'clock and got back in about half two [in the morning], so it was a late night.”

Tait rarely looks flustered when on the ball at Raith, but was he ever concerned the deal would fall through given the tight timescale? "Not really,” he replied. “I didn't really have anything to do with it. If Raith hadn't accepted the bid, then I would have just kicked on here again and kept playing, because I love it here. If it happened, it happened, if it didn't, it didn't.”

After the drama of midweek, Tait was glad to get back on the pitch again. Raith have not played a full competitive match since August 15 due to the abandonment of their match against Dunfermline and then their match against Ayr being called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak at Somerset Park. On Saturday they took on Forfar in the SPFL Trust Trophy and prevailed 1-0 to set up a derby with East Fife in the third round.

"We had a bounce game on Monday, but it's not the same as a proper game,” said Tait. “It took us a while to get going, but on another day we score three or four.”

Hibs have loaned Tait back to Raith until January and the teenager is happy with the arrangement. "I want to be playing week in, week out here and impressing the manager here and hopefully he just keeps playing me and impress the manager at Hibs so that when I go back there in January, I get a chance there to play,” he said. "It means a lot when a big team like Hibs come in for you and pay money for you. But I'm still at Raith Rovers and I need to keep doing what I've been doing for the last year-and-a-bit which got me a move to Hibs.

"[Jack Ross] just said keep doing what you are doing, play week-in week-out and come back in January ready to fight for a place in the Hibs team.”

His enthusiasm for the move to Hibs has been heightened by words from James Keatings, who was part of the Edinburgh club’s squad when they won the Scottish Cup in 2016. "Keatsy is from Glasgow as well, so he's been telling me everything about Hibs, telling me how good a club it is and how good it is, how good the facilities are,” added Tait. “Stuff like that makes me excited to go there. I just need to keep impressing the manager there so that when I do go there, I'm ready to play for them.”

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