- in Science
Hibernian defender Darren McGregor is vowing to “keep going until my body says no” as he returns from his latest injury setback.
The 34-year-old has not played since suffering an abdominal injury in August.
But he was fit enough for a place on the bench in Sunday’s loss away to Celtic and is in contention to face former club Rangers on Friday.
“I’m not putting my slippers on yet,” McGregor said.
The centre-half, who had two anterior cruciate injuries during his days at St Mirren and significant knee problems in 2017 and 2018, avoided surgery this time but described the rehabilitation process as “a long and arduous journey”.
“I need to thank Nathan Ring, head of sport science at Hibs, since he was instrumental in putting a calm head on it,” he said.
“A lot of people might’ve jumped into getting an operation, but we had a conversation that, if the operation didn’t work at my age, it could have been the end of my career.
“I took it on the chin and I thought ‘I’m going to do it the right way’ and it was just sheer perseverance and hard work for the best part of 14 weeks.”
McGregor extended his contract at Easter Road by signing a four-year deal in April alongside club captain and fellow 2016 Scottish Cup winner David Gray.
He aims to obtain a Uefa A Licence in coaching in June but insists he still has a lot to offer on the field.
“In my mind, I still believe that I can contribute in some capacity within this four-year period,” he said.
“I’m going to keep going until my body says no. I’ll go until it’s physically impossible. You’re a long time retired, so it’s about enjoying every day. I was late to the game and, the older I get, the more I enjoy it.”
McGregor played for Rangers in their 2014-15 Scottish Championship season, winning the club’s player of the year and players’ player of the year awards.
The defender was then surprisingly allowed to move on after falling out of favour at Ibrox with then recently-arrived manager Mark Warburton.
“My year at Rangers was incredible,” McGregor recalled. “The way it ended, that’s just football for you, but every cloud has a silver lining. The year I came here, we won the Scottish Cup.
“On reflection, it was the best move I could’ve made, so I need to thank Mark Warburton for that.”