BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SCOTT ALLAN has acknowledged it is time to ‘put down roots’ as the nomadic playmaker insisted he was open to making his loan move to Hibernian permanent.
The 26-year-old was back in the familiar surroundings of Hibs’ training centre yesterday, reflecting on what he described as the most enjoyable period of his footballing life; pulling the strings for Alan Stubbs during the 2014/15 campaign and claiming PFA Championship player of the year.
Those 12 months were an oasis of calm in an otherwise tumultuous career, bookmarked by an acrimonious exit from Dundee United as a teenager to join West Brom and the ill-fated move to Celtic following his stand-out season at Easter Road.
Including the loan spell at Dundee which was cut short to allow him to rejoin Hibs, Allan has represented 10 different clubs at 26 years of age.
Little wonder, then, that he is keen to find a home at Hibs, albeit he remains a slave to circumstsnce due to his contract with Celtic running until 2019.
When the prospect of a longer term stay in the capital was raised, he said: “Yes, I’d like to, if it works well for me and the club.
“The last time I was here was the most enjoyment I’ve had in football, so hopefully I can recreate that. I just linked with every player and the fit just feels right. I played with a freedom with those around me here, guys like Dylan McGeouch, who is still here, and that enabled me to do my creative stuff going forward.
“I just want to put some roots down. It’s something my career really needs just now. I need to go out on a Saturday and enjoy playing football and entertaining fans.”
Fresh from creating 17 goals for Hibs, the summer of 2015 was dominated by the transfer saga which saw Rangers desperate to tempt Allan to Ibrox, however the clubs could not agree a fee. Celtic swooped from nowhere to take the gifted schemer to Parkhead.
Suffice to say the transfer has not been a success, with Allan starting three matches in two-and-a-half years and being farmed out on loan to Rotherham, Dundee and, now, Hibs.
Asked whether Neil Lennon’s description of his career as ‘plodding along’ was fair, he smiled ruefully: “Yes, definitely.” However, he is adamant his desire has never been in question.
“I’ve always been hungry to succeed and that will never change,” continued Allan. “Some things [in my career] have been unfortunate, others have been my own doing, but that’s part of life.
“The ways things have gone for me since I was 18 – the way I left Dundee United and the hype around that – have meant I’ve learned to live with frustration but I want more good times in my career.
“As a person, I’ve gained through experience; the amount of things I’ve been through and the transfers I’ve been involved in.”
Even as no stranger to a transfer ordeal, deadline day was a unique one for Allan as a delicate three-way deal played out over the course of a fraught 24 hours.
Allan made a personal phone call to Neil McCann to request that he be able to join Hibs, and was yesterday keen to express his gratitude to the Dens Park boss.
However, the other pieces of the move – namely Simon Murray and Scott Bain going to Dundee and Celtic respectively – had to fall into place in order for his switch to get the green light.
“From Neil [McCann’s] point of view, I think he wanted to keep hold of me, so I phoned him to ask him to let me go,” reflected Allan. “I’ve a lot to thank him for in letting this happen for me.
“It was a difficult phone call because you’re telling someone you want to leave and I had a good relationship with Neil and respect him as a man.
“Then everything had to be right for the three players and the three clubs. What do you do in that situation? You just sit in your house and keep your fingers crossed!”
Allan is in contention for an immediate debut against Rangers this afternoon, with Neil Lennon insisting he would have no qualms about pitching him into that bear-pit. Indeed, the Hibs head coach is visibly enthused by the prospect of helping to realise an as yet unfulfilled talent.
“In his first spell at Hibs there was a flow, confidence and real intent in his game,” said Lennon. “We want to bring that back out of him.
“He needs to really settle down, find somewhere he is content and start showing the country the player he can be. He’s got the game and it’s up to me to tap into that and try and get the best out of him.”