Hibs winger Alex Harris determined to make impact under Neil Lennon – three years after starring at Hampden



Hibs winger Alex Harris admits he is determined to fulfil his potential under new head coach Neil Lennon – three years after setting Hampden alight.

The pacey midfielder announced his arrival on the big stage in only his third start for the club when he inspired the Leith side to a stunning comeback in the 2013 Scottish Cup semi-final against Falkirk.

Three-nil down at half-time, Harris – then only 18 – scored the first and set-up Leigh Griffiths for the second as Pat Fenlon’s side roared back to win 4-3 after extra-time.

alexharrisBut Harris has only shown glimpses of that form since that memorable day in Glasgow. A persistent ankle injury hampered the youngster the following season as Hibs were relegated under Terry Butcher.

He was farmed out to Dundee by Alan Stubbs in January 2015 and spent the whole of last term on loan at Queen of the South, making 27 appearances.

But after former Celtic boss Lennon admitted that he is a big admirer of the playmaker, Harris has vowed to take his chance.

Harris, who came off the bench in Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League defeat to Brondby said: “I’ve heard what the new manager has said and it’s obviously great to hear when you’ve been away on loan.

“I’ve got a new chance, a new manager to impress and it’s now down to me.

“He’s just said he wants to get my confidence up a bit.

“I broke through when I was younger, then I got the injury and things didn’t happen towards the end of the season when I came back from it.

“These things happen. I’m old enough to accept it and learn to get on with it.

“There were big expectations after the semi-final game against Falkirk but I’m still only 21, I’m still learning, I’m still a wee kid.

“It’s down to me – I put demands on myself every day and that’s what I’ll keep doing.

“Last year I got pushed out on loan when I got back from pre-season, so obviously the old manager made up his mind then.

“But with the new manager, everyone’s got a clean slate and you can see in training that everyone’s training to impress and win a starting spot.

“When a new manager comes in he speaks to the boys and gets his feelings across. He’s told me it’s a new start and a good chance to impress.”

Queen of the South

Harris is in the final year of his contract at Hibs but admits he wondered whether he had played his last game for the club when he joined the Doonhamers last summer.

He added: “Going out on loan I wasn’t sure what was going to happen the next year; I was just focussed on Queen of the South and obviously Dundee before. I never really thought too far ahead of myself.

“I obviously wasn’t part of the plans, and that’s because the boys were doing really well.

“It wasn’t about him not liking me – it was just that the boys were doing well and the season before I’d been away at Dundee and not really pushed my way into the team at that point.

“It was fair enough I think. I went out on loan and played games so it benefitted me.

“Playing games helps massively. The season before that, between Hibs and Dundee I didn’t play as much as I would have liked.

“But last season at Queen of the South I got my fair share of games and chipped in with a few assists and goals, so I was really happy with that.”

Easter Road

Harris was delighted to get a run out at Easter Road again despite the narrow defeat to the Danes in the second qualifying round first leg.

His last appearance for the club came last August in a 3-0 League Cup win over Montrose.

He added: “It’s obviously been a while so it was good to get out on the pitch. I’ve had a good pre-season, and it was good to get back to competition.

“As a Hibee, it’s great to play for your club, and obviously it’s been a wee while. It was great to be back out, especially on a European night.

“We’ve not had that in a wee while. The fans were brilliant and we got a good turnout.”