JAMES KEATINGS reckons former Hamilton team-mate Alex Gogic could be the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ for old club Hibs.
Wingers and strikers are usually the eye-catching signings but for many Easter Road fans the arrival of defensive midfielder Gogic is more exciting than the capture of Drey Wright and Kevin Nisbet.
And, after their time together at Accies, Keatings can understand why.
Gogic was battling back from a serious knee injury when Keatings returned to the Lanarkshire outfit in 2018, but he saw enough on the Cypriot’s return to know just what he will bring to Hibs.
And the 28-year-old believes Gogic’s love of the midfield enforcer role means the capital outfit have finally found someone to fill the void left by Marvin Bartley’s departure last summer.
Keatings, awaiting the return of football with current club Inverness Caley Thistle, said: “Alex has got that side of the game. He’s very good at reading the game and breaking up play, and the way he plays is what I would call old-fashioned.
“He’s rough, he wants to get in about it, and he likes a tackle.
“But he’s also got the other side of it as well; he can play. He’s good on the ball and he’s versatile, he can play numerous positions from centre-half out.
“With Hibs losing Marvin, he was seen as a big loss in the centre of midfield with that side of the game, but Alex is definitely one that can fit that role.
“Marvin was an unsung hero, for me. The way he did his job helped the ones up the park, knowing you could rely on the back four and Marvin doing that other side of the game and getting the ball to the forward players.
“I didn’t see as many Hibs games last season as a lot of people who I talk to but they were saying they were missing that type of player in the middle of the park.
“They kept saying in certain games that is what they didn’t have – the missing piece of the puzzle they would say.
“They’ve got a lot of very good attacking players, players like Scott Allan and Martin Boyle, and Gogic will help their games.
“If he hits the ground running, which I believe he will do, he’ll hopefully fit in well and I’m sure he’ll do well and then kick on again.”
And it is not only on the pitch that Keatings believes Gogic will be welcomed at Hibs.
He added: “He’s a very determined boy, he’s very professional and a winner. A lot of people have described him as a warrior, and he’s that type of player.
“He’ll run through brick walls for you.
“But his personality is also a positive. He’s good in the changing room, he’s a good lad and up for the banter, but serious when it comes to the serious stuff.
“I’m sure he’ll fit in well at Hibs.”