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Newell relishing crack at European competition with Hibs

The midfielder says playing against the continent's best was never really on his radar.

Newell relishing crack at European competition with Hibs SNS Group

Hibernian midfielder Joe Newell believes European nights at Easter Road will be “amazing” and can’t wait to play in UEFA competition next season.

League performances mean Hibs have already guaranteed themselves European football next season but they go into the last four of the Scottish Cup this weekend knowing that winning the trophy would guarantee at worst a Conference League place and games through until Christmas.

Newell is looking forward to the opportunity to add a new level of competition to his record and admits it wasn’t something he had set as a big goal in his career.

“To be honest, in my career, no [I never thought about it],” Newell told STV. “Because in England growing up you have to be at one of the top, top sides.

“Maybe at seven I might have thought it possible then but as I got older it was always a bit lower down in my mind. [The goals were] trying to play in the Championship, trying to play in the Premiership, and stuff like that.

“But coming up here, I signed a new contract and it was factor in that, definitely. And the thought of the fans being back for European nights, it could be amazing.

“When I was growing up we didn’t have Sky and the Champions League was on ITV then and the big European nights were the highlight of the week.

“To be involved would be an honour.”

While Hibs players are all looking forward to European club competition, Newell’s teammate Kevin Nisbet is hoping he will get the call to be part of Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the Euros this summer.

The Hibs striker earned his first call-up and cap this year but Newell believes he would be a valuable asset for the squad and should make the cut. But the Englishman says he only wants his fellow Hibee to enjoy limited success if he plays at Wembley.

“If Nizzy plays for Scotland I would love it if England win 5-2 and he scores a brace,” he said.

“It’ll be water off a duck’s back to Kevin. I’ve mentioned before that his mental strength is unbelievable.

“He’s come in and been great around the place. He’s bought into what the club is wanting to do and how the gaffer wanted to play straight away.

“He’s got so many attributes to his game. He’s an all-round striker and I think he should definitely be involved for Scotland. he deserves it and he’s had a great season.”