He’s watched his younger peers earns links with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, bids of seven figures arriving too – but Darren McGregor is hoping to mentor them along their Hibs journey.
The 35-year-old centre-back has been immense since coming back into the Hibs side recently, featuring 10 times overall this term. Form of younger players at Easter Road has been a talking point this season, fellow central defender Ryan Porteous subject to a big-money bid from Millwall while Josh Doig has attracted attention from English sides such as Arsenal and Chelsea.
Youth development at Hibs is clearly going well according to McGregor, who is happy to help the likes of Doig and Porteous along their paths, similar to a former Hibee: “There is speculation around Ryan, and it is warranted because he is a top player.
“It is just about his reaction in times like this, how he reacts in a positive manner and that will stand him in good stead for later in his career. He has a great career in front of him, he just needs to keep learning and progressing, and if he does, I have no doubt he will be a top, top player.
“These younger guys should know, and I think they do, that it is hard work which gets you there. You can take your eye off the ball when you start thinking about this team or that team wanting me, then it can affect your current form, and the chances of you leaving.
“It is just about staying grounded and to be fair every young guy in this academy I have spoken to are. They deal with the here and now, which is the way you get moves in football.
“I am sure there will be opportunities for these guys, but first and foremost they are at Hibs. They need to work day in and day out to be the best person they can be, then the fruits of their labour will show in years to come.
“Josh is similar to Porteous in that he has a bit of steel and grit to him. He’s tenacious and that’s coupled with technical ability. His time will come.
“John McGinn came here and had a wonderful few years. He has kicked on again because he has the same attributes I see in Josh and Ryan. There will be opportunities for these guys.”
McGregor made his first league start in more than a year during the 1-0 home defeat to Rangers last month, handed the armband by Jack Ross too. He’ll be 36 in August but he isn’t thinking too far ahead.
For now, he’s enjoying his run back in the team, with coaching something on the backburner for now: “It is difficult when you are out in the cold, looking from the outside in, but you need to park your selfishness and try to support the team.
“I am sure the manager or the fans will tell me when they have had enough of me, but at present, I am enjoying every single game. I still feel I am contributing, so until that day comes where I feel like I am not, then I will just keep going.
“I was lucky enough to get a contract which enables me to do coaching, but I haven’t been able to do that at the moment due to the pandemic and stuff. I don’t need a title to be a mentor, I will always help the younger guys.
“I will try and give them the best possible advice. I am halfway through my A-License, ticking boxes in the background, but I find it hard to commit to something else when I feel I have so much to give.”
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