Heffernan surprised by move

  • Last Updated: September 1 2013, 14:22 BST

Paul Heffernan is baffled by the circumstances surrounding his shock free transfer from Kilmarnock to Scottish Premiership rivals Hibernian.

Paul Heffernan: On the move to Hibernian
Paul Heffernan: On the move to Hibernian

Despite scoring 12 goals in 30 appearances last term for the Rugby Park outfit and, in the previous campaign, helping the club to the Scottish Communities League Cup, he was allowed to leave the club for no fee.

Heffernan says the move, which was completed on Friday evening, came out of the blue and assumes the change of manager at Killie - Allan Johnston replacing Kenny Shiels in the summer - put paid to his chances of remaining a key figure in Ayrshire.

After making his debut as a late substitute in Saturday's 0-0 home draw against Ross County, the 32-year-old said: "(Kilmarnock chairman) Michael Johnston was happy to let me go for free and (Hibs manager) Pat Fenlon was willing to take me.

"I was a bit surprised. I still had a year left on my contract. But obviously the new manager has come in and maybe he wants to bring in his own sort of players.

"I don't know what their reasoning was. I just know they were willing to let me go for free. I suppose nothing should surprise you when a new manager comes in."

Heffernan sought advice from three former Killie stars before agreeing to become Pat Fenlon's 10th summer signing at Easter Road. Dean Shiels, now at Rangers, and current Hibees, Michael Nelson and Tim Clancy, all gave a glowing reference to life in the capital.

He continued: "I played with Tim Clancy at Kilmarnock and I have known Michael Nelson for years, playing against him in England and playing with him at Killie.

"I also spoke to Dean Shiels, who is a really good friend of mine. And he told me I had to jump at the chance of playing for Hibs. He had nothing but god things to say about the club.

"They all said that everything - the club, the stadium, the training ground, the fans - is all set up for success. It is all very encouraging. It is always good to speak to someone you know ahead of moving to a club."

Meanwhile, Ross County goalkeeper Mark Brown says the Highlanders succeeded in their plan to get the home fans "on the backs" of the Hibs players during another disappointing display from the capital club.

The Hibees are yet to register a home win this term and have only scored one goal in four outings on their own patch, leading to an increasingly restless atmosphere at Easter Road.

After another underwhelming display, in which Hibs' only real opportunity came through James Collins heading against the post, the home side were vociferously jeered from the pitch at full-time.

Brown, who played for the Edinburgh outfit for two years, reckons the current dissatisfaction of the Hibs faithful was always going to be a factor County could exploit.

He said: "We knew if we could frustrate Hibs early on then - with the way the crowd has been here recently - they would turn on the players a little bit.

"I think any time you come to a ground where they have a big home backing you try to frustrate them, you try to get the fans on their back. That is nothing new in football."

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