Kyle Magennis shrugs off St Mirren statement as he prepares for Hibs debut

Kyle Magennis was on St Mirren’s books long enough to write a chapter or three about the Buddies’ recent ups and downs.

So he’s not going to let a few barbed words on the club website blot their copybook or ruin the respect he has for his first club now he’s moved to Hibs.

The 22-year-old is in the squad and in line for a debut against Brora this evening after ending a 17-year relationship with St Mirren to become the latest star to switch from Paisley to Leith.

For a day or two it looked like the transfer wouldn’t go through as Hibs’ opening two offers were rejected.

But after a heart-to-heart with Jim Goodwin and Saints chief Tony Fitzpatrick, Magennis got his wish and Hibs got their man on deadline day.

The brassed-off Buddies responded with a statement on the club website which turned the spotlight onto the player and revealed how they’d spent over a year working on an improved contract for the midfielder.

Asked if he found the response disappointing, Megannis said: “I have been there since five-years-old and have a good relationship with all the boys and staff so a few words on the website isn’t going to change my opinion of a club which has a place in my heart.

“Jim (Goodwin) text me yesterday wishing me all the best and saying he hopes I do well. I still have a good relationship with them all.”

(Image: SNS Group)

Magennis admits he thought he’d missed out on the move after Hibs had two bids booted out.

He said: “I went in and saw the manager and Tony Fitzpatrick.

“I said it was a good opportunity and I’d like to go but I wasn’t going to fall out with anybody over it. I’m not that type of boy especially because I had been there for so long.

“I would never have said I’m not playing for you.

“I had a good chat with them and the gaffer said it was a good opportunity but he didn’t want me to go. On the Friday morning I got a call saying they had agreed a fee.”

The wheels on Magennis’ career were set in motion at Easter Road four years ago this month when Jack Ross – then manager at St Mirren – handed him his professional debut off the bench.

Now the playmaker, back fit after overcoming an ACL injury, hopes to take his game onto the next level in Leith just like former Buddies buddy – John McGinn.

He said: “I texted Stephen and spoke to Paul (McGinn). John’s the only one I never spoke to! But hopefully I can do as well as he did here and go on to be as successful.

“I think that’s what all young players should look to do. It’s about going somewhere, doing the best they can and try to get as far in their career as possible.

“I made my debut for St Mirren here and it was electric.

“I wasn’t expecting to come on. I was out warming up with the rest of the subs at half time and the assistant manager at the time came over and told me to get ready. My belly kinda sunk a bit, I had butterflies.

“I didn’t really play for the youth team at the time and Jack came in, he must have seen something in me, and let me train with the first team then gave me my debut and the chance to progress.”

Magennis is in the squad to face Highland League champs Brora this evening and QPR keeper Dillan Barnes will be handed a debut with Ofir Marciano preparing to face Scotland for Israel.

Easter Road boss Ross is missing four through international commitments but has his eyes set on silverware.

He said: “We know it is a chance to go and chase success and win silverware but we also know the benefits it brings in prize money and sponsorship.

“So, we know we have that responsibility to progress and hopefully win the tournament. First we have to hopefully progress past the group stages and then go from there. This tournament is vitally important to us.”

Ross is delighted to get Magennis over the line – his seventh signing of the window – and admitted he unearthed the young Magennis while at St Mirren almost by chance.

The then 18-year-old was hauled into the first team from the development squad.

And, asked what convinced him to throw in the rookie, Ross said: “I had lost six league games in a row – I was clutching at straws!

“No, he’s an interesting one. When I went to the club, Kyle McAllister – who is back there now – was the one everyone believed would move on, and he went on and got his move to Derby.

“Allan McManus (Academy director at St Mirren) liked Kyle but he wasn’t regarded as being the great new hope for the club.

“I watched him play in a development match and thought he was really good. What he does that is different to a lot of young midfielders is he drives with the ball and carries the ball. A lot of young players pass the ball. I liked what I saw and I decided to involve him in training before he made his debut at Easter Road.

“He played a lot of games for me and he grew with us. I’m fond of him, he’s a good player and different to a lot of players. I’ve always felt those attributes would give him a really good future in the game.

“He is someone I have a lot of admiration for as a player and I think a lot of him.

“Hibs, as a club, have also liked him for a long time, going back to when I was manager of St Mirren.

“So it’s nice that the club had a high opinion of him and so did I, which allowed us to make him a target and work hard to bring him to the club.”

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