DARYL HORGAN insists his opportunity to work with Paul Heckingbottom has been a long time coming as he shines under the Hibernian head coach
The Ireland internationalist has revealed that he went on trial with Barnsley as a fresh-faced youngster when Heckingbottom was still the head of youth at Oakwell.
Several years later, Heckingbottom then tried to snap up the winger from Dundalk after becoming Tykes boss, only to get priced out of a deal as Horgan joined Preston North End.
However, their partnership has proved worth the wait, with the 26-year-old turning in a string of super showings since the Englishman’s arrival, culminating in his match-winning brace in Hibs’ 2-1 triumph over Hearts on Saturday.
Horgan said: “I was on trial at Barnsley when he [Heckingbottom] was the youth team coach. Our paths have actually crossed a couple of times.
“I was aware that he was interested in me at Barnsley – but we’ve not spoken to me about that since! It just didn’t work out and I ended up going to Preston.
“So, it’s funny how things end up happening and we’re both here now at the same time. It’s good that he knew about me but I still need to go out there and do the business.
“It’s not just me, he’s been really good for everyone here.”
However, Horgan is keen to guard against complacency.
He continued: “The run we’ve been on since he came in has been unbelievable. We’re unbeaten in eight [league matches] and we’re playing some good stuff.
“There are a lot of good signs, but it doesn’t really mean anything if we throw it away in the last five games.”
Hibs are now just six points adrift of Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, fourth and third respectively, and approach a mouth-watering set of post-split fixtures as the form team in the top-half of the Premiership.
And Horgan, who was a stand-out during Dundalk’s historic run to the Europa League group stage in 2016, is eyeing a return to that platform.
He added: “That would be unbelievable. I’ve played in Europe before, it’s special to be involved and they’re great nights.”