Tommy Craig Raiding His Old Team

Last updated : 25 June 2007 By Footy Mad - Editor
WWW.HIBERNIAN-MAD.CO.UK has learned that the Hibees are in talks with a second Newcastle United reserve player.

Hibs have entered in to talks with young Magpies defender Kris Gate.

The Hibees are understood to have already agreed terms with Newcastle's Republic of Ireland international winger Alan O'Brien and its understood Kris Gate could soon be joining him.

Gate, 22, has been flirting about the Newcastle first team for a while, but has found it tough to make the breakthrough. Gate spent some time on loan at League 2 side Grimsby Town in November 2005.

The young defender can play at either right or left back and apparently has lightning pace and loves to get himself forward.

Gate, like O'Brien, is out of contract but its likely Hibs would have to pay compensation for the player.

Hibs Official website: Ahead of Hibernian's SPL encounter with Motherwell at Fir Park last November, Assistant Manager Tommy Craig was asked to pinpoint any opposition players that might cause his side problems. There was little hesitation before Tommy came back with the name Brian Kerr, a player he had worked with at Newcastle United and one he was convinced would go a very long way in the game.

For Brian that November afternoon lining up against Hibernian with his former mentor looking on from the away bench was something of an education in itself. Hibernian turned in a performance that for many was one of the finest ever seen, destroying a useful looking Motherwell side 6-1 but in truth the margin could easily have been much greater. Just a couple of months later Brian was invited to talk about a move to Hibernian, and it did not take him long to decide that renewing his working relationship with Tommy Craig was something he very much wanted to do.

Six months on and Brian will return from holiday in Florida to concentrate fully on his new club, reporting to Easter Road this week before preparing to board another flight, this time to the Club's summer training camp in Austria.

Brian said: "I have been champing at the bit for quite a while now, knowing I was coming to Easter Road since I spoke to Tommy and John Collins when my contract at Motherwell was coming to an end. Coming to Hibs was never really a difficult decision for me to make, I had worked with Tommy Craig before and frankly I was desperate to work with him again. Tommy had already had a massive influence on me when we were at Newcastle United, his coaching is for me second to none and I just cannot wait to work with him again.
"After speaking to John Collins as well I knew that the move was the right one for me to make. The style of football that John wants from Hibernian is something I think I will fit into well, I really believe this club will be good for me but I also hope and believe that I will be good for the club."

Under Tommy Craig's guidance Brian moved through the Newcastle Youth system and made his first-team debut in a 2-0 Premiership away win over Coventry City back in September 2000. It was January 2002 before he appeared again, this time in the FA Cup with Newcastle winning away from home at Peterborough.

He was involved on a much larger stage a couple of months later when he was in the Newcastle side that went out of the cup, losing 3-0 away to Arsenal. There came a first taste of European competition for the midfielder in August of that year when he was involved in the 4-0 European Cup win over Zeljeznicar.

The next few years were difficult for Brian as he battled for first team experience, his appearances restricted at Newcastle he spent some time on loan twice at Coventry sandwiching a 3-month spell back in Scotland at Livingston.

It was a frustrating period for the player who had started 2003 so well, including a starting place in the European Cup match against Leverkusen in which Alan Shearer struck a memorable hat-trick for Newcastle. That year also saw Brian make his international debut for Scotland in a 1-1 draw against New Zealand.

Further Scotland appearances followed against Estonia and at Easter Road in a 4-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, since then however Brian has not featured for his country and that is something he hopes his move to Easter Road will help to put right: "The first thing is obviously to do well for Hibs, that is my aim and if I do well enough then who knows, perhaps that will lead to more involvement for Scotland. Every player wants to represent his country, but we all know as well that to do that you first have to do the job for your club. For me that means working hard and getting a regular place in the first team at Easter Road, it's up to me to produce a performance week in week out and I'll be aiming to do just that.

"The backing of the supporters is also very important, every player wants to do well for himself of course but he also wants to do well for the supporters who are paying good money to watch their team every week. I know that expectations are very high at Hibernian, one Cup was brought back to Easter Road last season and the supporters will be hungry for more of the same.

Competing for trophies and being high up in the league is something I know Hibernian are aiming for every year, and the way the side have been playing has seen them finish in the top six regularly. That is where I want to be as well, part of a team playing good football and Hibs have shown already how they can compete against the best this league has to offer.

"It's flogged a bit but consistency is the keyword at any football club, and if I can help bring a bit of consistency then I'll be delighted." Brian will meet up with the rest of the Hibernian squad this week before flying out to Austria on Sunday, but he has no feelings of apprehension: "I know quite a few of the lads already through playing against them, I know what they are capable of having learned the hard way in that game at Fir Park back in November! I've met a few of the lads as well at other times and now I just can't wait to get back to work again, preparing for what we all hope will be another big year for Hibernian."