Hearts new signing Toby Sibbick says he always wanted to return to the club after a loan spell ended without him showing the fans what he could do.
Sibbick played two games for the club in 2020 while on loan from Barnsley before being sidelined with glandular fever. The Covid pandemic then forced the shutdown of league football and ended his time in Edinburgh.
The defender has now signed a three-and-a-half year deal at Tynecastle and says he’s ready to get going after a difficult couple of years.
A second debut could happen sooner than expected, with Hearts missing Craig Halkett for the next few weeks.
“Tynecastle’s always rocking so I can’t wait to get back out there in front of the fans,” Sibbick said. “It’s good to be back. The last few months have been tough for me.
“I was playing regularly at the start of the season but since the manager changed it’s almost like I was shown out the door at Barnsley. But I knew that one day I’d like to come back to Hearts and show the people who I really am. I feel like over the last couple of years I’ve grown as a person and as a player.
“When I first came I was only 20 and I was a bit raw but I feel I have matured since then. I’ve been playing mostly on the right side of a back three but I’m a versatile player. I can play in whatever position needs filling. The gaffer says he sees me filling in at centre-half, either on the right side or in the middle.”
During his time in England Sibbick was linked with a return to Scottish football but it was Hearts city rivals Hibs who were credited with an interest. The 22-year-old laughed at the connection and said that even in his short time at Tynecastle, he had developed a connection with the supporters and would have rejected a switch to Easter Road.
“They were just links,” he said.
“I always felt like I would come back to Hearts. I do feel like this is a great club and I’ve been linked with them (Hibs) twice now.
“But I don’t think I could do it to such a great club because the fans have taken to me so well. They always send me positive messages on social media. When I did get the links my DMs were full of Hearts fans saying ‘Please don’t go’ or telling me to come home.
“I came home and now I’m here so I’m delighted.”