Hibs midfielder Kevin Thomson admits he could have been lining up in a Hearts jersey tonight after revealing that he held talks over a controversial switch to Tynecastle.
Then Hearts manager Gary Locke made contact with Thomson in April 2014 during a season that ended with the Leith outfit falling through the Premiership trapdoor following a devastating play-off defeat to Hamilton.
And as Hibs prepare to host their city rivals in tonight’s Scottish Cup fifth round replay, Thomson has admitted for the first time that he had spoken to Locke.
Asked if Locke made an approach, Thomson, who returned to Hibs for a third time last month following 18 months at Dundee, said: “He did, yeah.
“We must have talked for about 10-15 minutes on the phone – he was desperate for me to go.
“I was in a situation that I didn’t have a job. I know Gary quite well and what was said between us will stay that way.
“I have respect for everyone and he was the manager of Hearts. I was free to speak to who I wanted to speak to and I respected what he wanted to say.
“I remember it was in the papers on the day of the derby at Easter Road. I got man of the match in that derby after waking up to about 100 messages saying I was going to Hearts so it didn’t faze me.”
Thomson, meanwhile, reckons the current squad is just as good as the golden generation that he was part of under Tony Mowbray’s stewardship over ten years ago.
The 31-year-old played alongside the likes of Scott Brown, Derek Riordan, Garry O’Connor and Steven Whittaker.
Thomson added: “The current squad has got a belief and there’s a lot of young boys who generally don’t get fazed by anything, and that reminds me of when we were younger when we used to go to Tynecastle and they used to come to Easter Road.
“They had a really experienced team at the time with the likes of Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley when we were first breaking through, but that certainly never fazed us.
“You could argue that’s the same just now with your Hendos (Liam Henderson), John McGinns and the young boys. They certainly won’t be fazed by the big occasion.
“I think they’ve got the capability to match that team.
“I think the Mowbray era was the best we’ve had for a while – the players that produced.
“Certainly when I speak to the fans now, there’s a feeling that they appreciate the young boys and appreciate the quality they’ve got – and enjoying watching them.”