Kevin Nisbet admits Wednesday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Celtic could be his last at Easter Road as a Hibernian player.
The prolific 26-year-old has regularly been linked with transfers away from the Hibees since joining from Dunfermline in 2020 and a proposed £2.3million move to Millwall fell through in January when the striker – who had just returned from long-term injury – decided he would prefer to remain in Edinburgh “for the time being”.
With just one year left on his contract and little prospect of Hibs being able to tie their prized asset to a new deal, it is widely expected that a fully-fit Nisbet will be sold this summer.
Asked on Tuesday if it was in his mind that the Celtic match could be his last at Easter Road, he said: “It could, yeah. But for me it’s just about focusing on the game and then focusing on the Hearts game (at Tynecastle on Saturday).
“All the other stuff is put to the side until after the season and then we’ll take it from there. For me, it’s just about putting a good performance on against Celtic and trying to get three points.”
Nisbet remained coy when pressed further on how he expects this summer to pan out.
“I’m not really too sure,” he said. “I’ve not really thought into it. My agent and the club are in good dialogue with each other and I’ve said I kind of want to stay out of it. I just want to focus on finishing the season well.”
Nisbet would like to see Hibs get a good fee in return for his services.
“Of course I do,” he said. “This is my third season here and I’ve got a good connection with the club. They’ve been great to me so if I can return the investment, that would be great for all parties.”
Nisbet – whose openness about the possibility of leaving has not always endeared him to supporters – is pleased that he will likely leave on good terms with the Hibees after scoring 10 goals since his return from an ACL injury in December, while also snubbing Millwall to stay at Easter Road.
“I’ve loved it,” he said of playing in front of the Hibs fans. “There’s been a wee bit of ups and downs between me and the supporters.
“But after coming back from the injury, I think I’ve created that connection back with the fans which I’ve been delighted about because it did hurt me a lot when I didn’t really have that connection with the fans.
“I love the club. The club has been good to me and I’ve been good to the club so it will be good to see the supporters out in force (against Celtic).”
Asked if he felt he had been vindicated in staying at Hibs instead of signing for Millwall, Nisbet said: “Yeah, of course. I wanted to come back and stay and play well.
“I’ve been there before where January moves have fallen through and I think I didn’t deal with it previously as well as I did this time.
“I wanted to come back and enjoy my football – and I have.”
Having been sidelined by injury from February to December last year, Nisbet feels he is now back in prime condition and ready to be considered for a Scotland recall for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Georgia next month.
“It’s been an enjoyable return to play,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people expected me to come back the way I did.
“I’ve probably come back a better player as well. I knew in my head I would but there were a lot of doubters so it’s good to silence the doubters a bit as well.
“It was a long and very lonely nine months out but I put in a lot of hard work and I think people can see with my performances how hard I actually worked.
“The last Scotland camp (in March) was maybe a bit too soon because I was only a few months into my return to play but I’ve had a good five, six months now and I feel better physically.
“I’m sharper and fitter than ever, so hopefully I get selected.”