Lee Wallace helped convince Dillon Barnes on Hibs move

Ex-Hearts man is a team-mate of keeper’s at QPR

Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 10:56 pm
New signing Dillon Barnes is unveiled at the Hibernian Training Centre. Picture: SNS

Hibernian have former foe Lee Wallace to thank for a glowing reference in the deal that saw the Easter Road club sign Queens Park Rangers keeper Dillon Barnes on a season-long loan.

Barnes, 24, who has been recruited to provide competition for current first-choice starter Ofir Marciano, told Hibernian TV that he had been alerted to the Easter Road’s side interest a couple of weeks ago and had tapped into the insight of two of his Loftus Road colleagues, ex-Hearts and Rangers defender Wallace and former Rangers and Livingston keeper Liam Kelly.

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Both had given the Leith club a glowing recommendation and strengthened his desire to make the temporary switch.

“I got the phone call a couple of weeks ago and I was really interested. Hibs have been a massive club over the years, winning the Scottish Cup. It’s a big, big club and I am here to do well. I already knew a fair bit about the club and was in no doubt it was a move I wanted to make, especially after speaking to a few people with experience of Scottish football.

“There are a couple of boys at QPR who let me know that this is a good place to go to. It’s a big club and a nice city. They were big influences. They are both from Scotland and they told me to go and enjoy it.”

Having started his career at Barnet and then Fulham, Barnes got his first taste of senior top-team football at Colchester United in League 2.

He moved to QPR last summer but has been unable to make the breakthrough for Mark Warburton’s men and has arrived in the capital on the hunt for regular first team experience. He will go straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to face St Mirren in Paisley but, with the Hibs defence in solid form and Marciano yet to concede from open play, Barnes knows that it will be tough to oust the Israeli international. He says he intends to push him all the way, though.

“It will be good for everyone and I’m sure we’ll push each other,” said the Englishman. “I’m here to play games, prove myself and hopefully get the team to the top of the table. I spoke to the gaffer and it was really positive. He told me to come in, do well and earn my place in the team.”

Manager Jack Ross has sung the praises of Marciano in the early part of the season but said he was delighted to aid strength and depth.

“Dillon gives us another option in an area of the pitch where we’re light in terms of numbers. He’s keen to develop and hungry to play.”

As one keeper met up with the squad at their East Mains training centre, another was departing. The arrival of Barnes cleared the way for young Hibs keeper Kevin Dabrowski, who has been back up to Marciano this term, to join Dumbarton on a season-long loan.It is the Polish 22-year-old’s third loan spell after a useful few months at Berwick in 2018 and a more fruitful first half of last term spent at Cowdenbeath.

Having spent the early part of this season on the bench, a season in League One will prove more beneficial to his development, according to Hibs sporting director Graeme Mathie.

“Kevin has really impressed us in pre-season but he’s at a key stage of his development and it’s really important that he plays every week.

“Dumbarton is a club I know well and there are good people there who will give him a great platform to progress this season. We have no doubt he will return a better player for the experience.”

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