Hibs stalwart admits to Hearts talks

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Hibs defender Darren McGregor is thrilled that his new four-year deal will see him finish his career at his boyhood idols, but concedes things could have panned out much differently had he joined Hearts.

McGregor has admitted that he did speak to the Tynecastle club about a potential switch to Tynecastle after leaving St Mirren in summer 2014.

Those discussions came to nothing in the end, with the uncompromising centre-half later joining Rangers.

(Pic: Hibs TV)

However, it is at Easter Road where McGregor has realised his dreams.

Joining in 2015, the 33-year-old helped the team end 114-years of Scottish Cup heartache in 2016 and was part of the side that clinched the Championship title a year later.

Having just penned a new long-term contract that also includes him taking on an ambassadorial and mentoring role, McGregor admits those Hearts talks were a sliding doors moment in his career.

He said: “I went in and spoke to Craig Levein and Robbie Neilson 

“I had a hangover from Ibiza at the time! 

“I spoke to them and they were very nice but nothing came of it. 

“Ally McCoist (then Rangers manager) phoned me so that changed everything. 

“It’s common knowledge that I spoke to them. 

“I got a bit of a hard time from my pals but it was soon swept under the carpet.

“I’m a Hibs player and a Hibs fan and I’m thankful that I’m here at the club I supported as a boy. 

“I’ve had a lot of bumps in the road but to be sat here at the age I am with the prospects I’ve got, I’m really happy.

“Would I have signed for Hearts?  It depends how much money they offered!”

McGregor will face Hearts on Sunday with Hibs keen to emulate the April 6 victory over their city rivals to enhance their immediate aim of catching fourth place Kilmarnock.

The defender will again be tasked with trying to tame powerful Hearts forward Uche Ikpeazu and it’s a role he is relishing.

He added: “He is a big strong lad. When you are 6ft 3in and, whatever he is, 16 and a half stone – you are going to be strong.

“But added to that it’s obviously all muscle as well. He is a handful and he has proved that.

“Going into the game there is some apprehension – you could argue, when he is planted and he is applying pressure, he is probably the strongest guy in the league. 

“You need to be a bit coy and sensible in these situations. 

“There was a couple of times when I tried to wrestle him and 99 times out of a hundred I’d normally win but with the big guy, maybe no.”

 
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