Stevie Mallan has once again been reunited with a former manager at Hibs and his previous achievements under Jack Ross suggest things will go better this time around.
Heckingbottom was the man who initially took Mallan south when he bought him for Barnsley in 2017, but the midfielder found game time hard to come by at Oakwell, making just nine appearances during his time in Yorkshire.
He could have then been forgiven for fearing the worst, but played regularly enough under Heckingbottom for Hibs, even if results weren’t what they should have been.
Now it’s his former St Mirren boss in the hot seat. Given Mallan played arguably the best football of has career under Jack Ross in Paisley, making the 2016/17 Championship Team of the Year, the hope is that he can produce similar form in green and white.
“It wasn’t going great at St Mirren, before he came in,” he recalled.
“And I did kick on when he came in – and probably played the best football of my career in the last six months of that season.
“I was scoring goals, contributing to the team.
“We had a lot of pressure on us at the time – and that had a lot to do with that.
“There was no question about it. We had to get points, had to win games that we weren’t expected to win.
“So against Hibs or Dundee United, we had to go out and get results.
“I gained a lot of experience from that, I improved as a player – and I’ve got Jack to thank for that.
“He gave me a lot of freedom to play, he brought in Stephen McGinn and that helped me because he was more of a sitting midfielder and he let me go forward.
“I ended up scoring quite a lot of goals and I think him giving me that freedom to play with a great bunch of players around me, he let me go and perform and he would take that serious side away from it and let you go and enjoy your game, even though we were wanting to win every Saturday.”