A rival offer tried to tempt him across the capital and even more money on offer south of the border – but ex-Dunfermline star Kevin Nisbet says he always had his heart set on Hibs.
The 23-year-old trained fully with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday after capturing the headlines and prompting debate with his £250,000 switch from the Pars last week.
His new Easter Road employers saw a bid for his services turned down during the January transfer window, when Dundee United were also rebuffed following a six-figure offer.
But they finally got their man in a move that sparked controversy, paying a substantial fee while consulting players and staff over pay-cuts and redundancies.
Last week Courier Sport revealed the Glaswegian – who was on the books at Hibs as an U-15s prospect – had also attracted interest from new Hearts gaffer Robbie Neilson.
The Jambos boss took his admiration of the player with him from United and spoke to his agent at the 11th hour.
But Nisbet, who revealed his wage is less than it would have been had he joined Hibs in January, believes he is in the right place.
“Ever since January, Hibs has been the place I’ve wanted to be, where I want to score goals,” he said.
“They [Hearts] made an offer and it was flattering but it was a case of ‘no’, getting everything signed with Hibs and becoming a Hibernian player.
“Since hearing Hibs were interested I turned down offers down south. I think this is the perfect place to come. I think I’ll fit in the team well. I don’t think money is that important to me right now.
“I’m on a journey just now and it’s the path I want to take. I want to make decisions for my career and, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I just want to keep playing, keep enjoying myself – and stay near the family, as well.
“Having been released by Thistle, it made me think I’d go to League One, then the Championship, then the Premiership and hopefully score goals in each league. I’ve done it in two leagues so hopefully I can do it in the Premiership and prove a lot of people wrong.
“Going down south at this point in my career was something I didn’t want to do. I spoke to my family and Hibs were always first choice for me.
“But there was a point when I worried it might not happen. Of course, you see people losing their jobs in football – and it does start to worry you, if it’s ever going to happen. So I’m grateful to be here and humbled to be here. I’m just delighted to get a long-term deal.”
It has been suggested members of the Hibs squad could resent Nisbet – who says he’s inspired by Lawrence Shankland’s elevation from lower league goal-scorer to Scotland international – being recruited for a fee while others at the club are facing pay cuts and job losses.
He said: “I took a lower wage, if I’m honest, than I would’ve got in January and I think it’s only right doing that.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to come in and be on bigger wages so I took a lower wage for it. The lads have been first class since I’ve come in and welcomed me and helped me settle in really quickly.”
Nisbet, who has signed a four-year deal, netted 34 times in 46 games for Raith and then 23 times for 32 outings for Dunfermline.
He confesses none of that would have been possible without a change in mindset sparked by his exit from Thistle in 2018.
“My attitude wasn’t right on or off the park,” he admitted. “I wasn’t great with the way I conducted myself – it shouldn’t be the way a professional conducts themselves.
“I was going out too much and I had a bad diet. I got loaned out and it was a hard time.
“I ended up getting released and that’s when the penny dropped for me. Now I’m off the back of two great seasons at Raith and Dunfermline and I’m looking to kick on again.
“I was just at an age when I didn’t want to listen. I was immature as a young kid. But now, after playing so many games, I’m really looking after myself and I think I’ve matured a lot as a player. I’m just delighted to be back here for a season in the Premiership.”