FRASER FYVIE has hailed Scott Allan as the best player at Easter Road ‘by a country mile’ as the mercurial playmaker prepares to make a dramatic return to the Hibs squad.
Fyvie played alongside Allan during the 2014/15 campaign and, of his former teammates, insists only Shaun Maloney compared to his creativity, dribbling ability and eye for a killer pass.
That has been sorely missed this season, with the 29-year-old having not featured since last August due to an unspecified health issue.
However, Hibs boss Jack Ross confirmed on Thursday that Allan is now approaching full fitness, has taken part in training this week and is in line for a place in the squad to face St Johnstone today.
Fyvie reckons it is impossible to understate what a boost that news will be for the Hibees.
He lauded: “Scottie [Allan] is probably the most creative player I ever played with, and I was alongside some really good footballers, especially at Wigan.
“Only Shaun Maloney would be above him and that’s pretty good company to be in!
“The way he moves with the ball, the positions he takes up and the things he sees are extraordinary. Playing in that number 10 role just suits him down to a tee and if they can get him going, in terms of fitness, then he’ll cause any team problems.
“He’s the best player at Hibs by a country mile and, on his day, will be the best player on ANY pitch.”
And Fyvie, who played when Hibs defeated St Johnstone in the League Cup semi-final five years ago, is adamant any criticisms of Allan’s work-rate are irrelevant – because he is good enough to build a team around.
He continued: “I’ve heard people saying he doesn’t run enough, doesn’t track back enough.
“But we – myself and Dylan McGeouch a lot of the time – didn’t mind doing the dirty work. We knew that if we won the ball back and got it to Scottie, he could create goals.
“When you have a player as talented as that, you build around him.”
While Allan is likely to be restricted to a cameo from the bench, at best, at Hampden this afternoon, Paul Hanlon will be at the heart of the Hibs defence and sporting the captain’s armband.
And Fyvie is adamant Hanlon – one of Hibs’ quartet of survivors from the 2016 Scottish Cup triumph along with Lewis Stevenson, David Gray and Darren McGregor – does is a true unsung hero.
Indeed, there was a point when Fyvie feared that Celtic or Rangers would snap him up.
Fyvie continued: “Paul Hanlon has been an absolute standout.
“There was a point when he was running out of contract at I was thinking ‘surely Rangers or Celtic will come in for him’. Hibs are fortunate to still have him, he’s the best centre-half at the club and teaching Ryan Porteous with every game.
“How many managers have come through the door at Hibs? And not one has wanted rid of him. That says it all.
“I don’t think defenders ever really get the credit they deserve, and Paul Hanlon definitely deserves more.”