Hibernian and Kevin Thomson: Time to forgive and forget?

Written by Lewis Barnes.

THE return of Kevin Thomson to training at East Mains with the view to a possible deal at Easter Road has divided opinion amongst the Hibernian supporters.  Whilst it is hard to begrudge someone an increase in wages and silverware, it wasn’t so much his £2 million transfer to Rangers in January 2007 that infuriated Hibs fans, as the comments made by the lifelong supporter and former club captain. 
Statements along the lines of 'walking along the M8 barefoot and walking over broken class to join the Ibrox club' did nothing to endear Thomson to the Easter Road support, and the timing of the transfer and manufactured nature of it increased the ire of Hibs supporters further. 
The timing of the transfer was also extremely poor with Hibs closing in on the CIS Cup, their first trophy in 16 years, but Thomson proving to be a disruptive influence since joining up with the odious agent Willie McKay resulting in him being stripped of the club captaincy.  Thomson’s best friend Scott Brown who’s desire to leave hibs was also common knowledge, continued to turn in committed performances until the end of the season helping the Hibees lift the trophy.  Brown, unlike Thomson, continued to give full and dedicated service to Hibs until his departure and made no disparaging comments despite never pretending to support the club unlike his best friend.

Thomson has also had a torrid time with injuries and Hibs should be careful before spending what little money they have on a player blighted by a number of serious knee and hamstring injuries and a broken leg.  Indeed Thomson has managed only 118 appearances in over 6 years since leaving Easter Road.  There is also a feeling the Hibs are well endowed in the centre midfield position.  At first glance this is undeniably true but with finances meaning the impressive Jorge Claros is likely to leave in the summer and Lewis Stevenson and Gary Deegan also out of contract then the situation may not be so clear cut.  Pat Fenlon has stated his desire to sign Thomson but admitted that finances mean it may not be until next season when the club may well be light of midfield options.

Time is also a healer and Thomson would not be the first player to return after spells with the Old Firm.  Ian Murray and Derek Riordan were castigated by the Easter Road faithful during their spells in Glasgow and whilst admittedly their departures were not as acrimonious, Ivan Sproule and Garry O’Connor were also welcomed back with open arms.  However, Thomson’s untidy departure and aforementioned comments and willingness to turn his back on the club he supports may make forgiveness and acceptance a little less forth coming.  It can be of little doubt though that a fully fit Thomson is a special player who would add something to any squad in the SPL and the best way to silence any doubters would be to impress on the Easter Road pitch.  If he can do this Kevin Thomson would be welcomed “home” with open arms.

In other news this week the Hibernian Board welcomed the return of Colin McNeil as a non-executive director having previously been with the club until 2006.  Mr McNeil will help with marketing and communications and hopefully improve relations between the board and supporters which has been strained at times of late.

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