Hibernian gear up for Celtic Park trip by signing ex-Belgian U21 international

By David Walton

January 10, 2022

Shaun Maloney is certainly tooling up ahead of his trip to Celtic Park on Monday, and today he made perhaps his most important acquisition yet.

With Ryan Porteous suspended for the Parkhead clash on January 17, Maloney has moved to bring in former Belgium under-21 international Rocky Bushiri from Norwich on loan.

He now looks favourite to cover for Porteous and partner Paul Hanlon next week. Hibernian previously looked as though they were going to have to settle for rarely-used Darren McGregor slotting in instead.

Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Bushiri’s signing marks Maloney’s fourth of the transfer window so far. He joins Elias Melkerson, Harry Clarke, and Ewan Henderson respectively. Henderson, of course, cannot play against the Hoops due to only being on loan at Easter Road initially.

But today was a vitally important move for them. At only 22, Bushiri will add some much-needed solidity to Maloney’s backline. He comes with experience of playing in the Belgian Premier League KAS Eupen and KV Oostende respectively.

Bushiri was a regular with Belgium at U21 level up until 2019, with Maloney likely having a great understanding of his game given his time as an assistant to Roberto Martinez.

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It’s great to see Shaun really starting his rebuild with such aggression. The window has only been open for 10 days and he’s already managed to bring 4 players to Easter Road. He’s a man on a mission it seems.

This latest signing is a big one for them. Hibs looked like they were coming to Celtic Park next week short. Whilst McGregor is an experienced squad player with vast Premiership experience, his game has been on the decline after injury problems.

Bringing in Bushiri will make it an interesting tussle between himself and Kyogo Furuhashi, should both men play next week. The Belgian centre-back solves such a key issue for the Easter Road club just a week out from the big game.

Photo by Alexander Scheuber – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Of course, enough of the fawning over Hibs. Maloney’s impressive start needs to hit the buffers when he arrives at Parkhead. And there should be no easing off either. If it’s a narrow win or a mauling, we need to give Hibs everything we’ve got and seriously make a statement of intent.

Chances are we’re going to see a lot of fresh faces in the game from both sides. Let’s not forget we’ve made 4 signings of our own so far in January and is likely to be 5 soon once Riley McGree signs on.

It certainly looks like being a tasty encounter. Fingers crossed we come out with the right mentality and get the result.

In other news, How Celtic striker Giorgos Giakouamkis could become a big hero over the next month