As the weeks go by, it looks more and more likely that Luton Town will be playing Championship football next season. It’s a remarkable tale for the Hatters, who were playing in the English fourth tier last season. A key component to a potential consecutive promotion comes from an unlikely source if you’re a Hibs fan, the Hibees’ former striker James Collins.

Everpresent Edinburgh and Luton links

Top scorer in England’s third tier, the 28-year-old has 21 in 40 matches played. From a Luton perspective, that’s over double their next best tally of 10 which is scored by Hearts star Olly Lee’s brother Elliot. Former Hibs midfielder Andrew Shinnie, brother of Aberdeen captain Graeme, has also contributed five goals and three assists in the league so far.

Another former Hibee Andrew Shinnie also plys his trade at Kenilworth Road. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Terrible talisman for Terry’s team

For Collins though, he must look back on his time in the Scottish capital with regret. Signed for £200,000 from Swindon Town, he grabbed just six goals in green and white. Terry Butcher’s Hibs were relegated at the end of his only season and Collins was subsequently allowed to move on.

James Collins couldn’t prevent the Hibees from playing Championship football. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

He did so, to former club Shrewsbury Town. Some of his goalscoring exploits were rediscovered, netting 20 times in 60 appearances. An impressive loan spell at Northampton followed before Crawley moved to secure his services on a free transfer.

Couldn’t hit a barn door to goals galore

It proved a masterstroke and it looked as though the striker was back to his best. His tally of 20 goals in 45 games is evidence of that and caused the Hatters to swoop in. The former Aston Villa trainee is enjoying the most prolific spell of his career so far, finding the back of the net 45 times in 76 Luton appearances.

James Collins celebrates after scoring yet again for the Hatters, this time against Bristol Rovers at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Football is a funny game, often down to the finest of margins. Had Hibs got Collins firing, they possibly could’ve maintained their top-flight status. How can a man who struggled in Scotland look as though he’ll be playing in England’s Championship next season?

Had Hibs avoided relegation, who’s to say he wouldn’t have stayed at Easter Road? Then he could’ve provided Hibs with his goalscoring exploits rather than having to go back down to England to prove himself.

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