Scott Allan should be starring for Hibs at Parkhead not sitting in the stands for Celtic, insists Easter Road caretaker Eddie May



INTERIM Hibs head coach Eddie May concedes he is bitterly disappointed that Scott Allan will be denied the opportunity to showcase his talents at Celtic Park tonight – on behalf of the visitors.

Allan, 27, will officially rejoin the Hibees for a third spell this summer after agreeing a pre-contract last month, however the capital club made a concerted effort to push through the move during the winter window.

Despite the Hoops seemingly having little desire to utilise the playmaker – he has not made a single appearance this season and only 17 in close to four years at Parkhead – they chose not to sanction a switch.

Allan was at Easter Road on Saturday to watch his employers-in-waiting slip to a 2-1 defeat against Aberdeen and, while reluctant to become embroiled in a war of words with the Scottish champions, their refusal to allow the player to leave has clearly irked May.

When asked about Celtic’s injury issues, May brought up Allan unprompted, replying: “Yes, they have so many injuries they might even have to play Scott Allan!

“It wasn’t a joke, I was being serious. If Scott was at Hibernian – which he will be in the summer – he’d be a main player, like he was last season.

“Instead, he’s hardly featured in a squad, never mind a team, that’s the quality Celtic have got.

“They have earned the right to have that quality by winning championships, cups and playing in the Champions League for a number of years.

“I’m disappointed for Scott because we truly believe he will be a big player for us. We were really disappointed we couldn’t get something across the line. But we have to be respectful of Celtic who wanted to keep him.

After Allan was photographed at Easter Road at the weekend, May added: “He comes to a lot of our games throughout the season. He has not been in many squads so I think he chooses to come and watch Hibs, not Celtic.”

May – a somewhat reluctant manager by his own admission – is adamant it will be an ‘honour’ to take the club he supported as a boy to Celtic Park as head coach.

Contender: Holden (Pic: YouTube, Bristol City Official)

While Hibs continue to whittle down their long-list of candidates to succeed Neil Lennon, with Dean Holden and Paul Heckingbottom among those who have been approached for preliminary talks, May will be charged with derailing the Hoops juggernaut.

“I’m honoured to be asked to go and take a team. Whether it’s a pre-season game or a first-team game at Celtic Park,” he added. “Hibs are a big club and for me to be in this position is not ideal, but I look back and I’ve been a player, academy director and now this for a short period of time.

“It feels a great honour but with no satisfaction.”

Leaving Hibs felt ‘like the end of the world’ – Marc McNulty

Meanwhile, Hibs could hand a first start to marquee January arrival Marc McNulty, who is determined to finally make an impact for the capital club – 10 years after being told he would never make the grade in Leith.

McNulty was just 15 when he received the news that he was being released and still recalls it feeling ‘like the end of the world’.

He has returned as a £1m footballer, albeit having struggled to make an impact at Reading since last summer’s seven-figure switch from Reading.

“The manager and the head of youth at that time took the decision that I wasn’t ready at that time for full-time football,” he said. “These things happen and looking back it was probably a blessing.

“I thought it was the end of the world. I wanted to leave school and be a professional footballer and, when that happens, it can go one of two ways. It would be very easy to say ‘that’s me done, I’m not going to make it’.

“I was lucky that I had good people around about me and kept pushing me the right way.

“What I have learned over the years is that everyone progresses at different rates. Players can be best at their age group when they are younger and then, in a few years time when everyone is fully developed, it changes.

“If a young player is told early on that they aren’t ready it doesn’t mean they are not good enough, they might just have to wait a few years until their quality shows.”

On returning to the club on loan for the remainder of the campaign, he added: “My family and I have spoken about it and are still pinching ourselves.

“To be at a club the size of Hibs, coming from the city and knowing a lot of people; the phone has been going mad. It’s great feeling and brilliant to be part of the club again. I hope we can now turn results.”