The tape has only been running for about 30 seconds when Hibernian midfielder Luke Amos brands the 2023/24 season a 'disaster'. He is speaking from his own point of view, but it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to apply the term to the club's campaign as a whole, which culminated in an eighth-place finish after two managers had been relieved of their duties over the course of the campaign and David Gray had taken interim charge of the team on two occasions.

Amos signed an 18-month deal in January after a successful trial spell but suffered an injury that kept him out for a significant portion of the second half of the season, returning for Hibs' final three Scottish Premiership games. During his time off he went to Bali in Indonesia where he continued working hard in order to hit the ground running on the return to training. 

“Pre-season is always tough and I’m sure anyone you speak to would say the same but I’m really enjoying it. It’s probably been two years since I’ve had a proper one, when I’ve been able to work in the off-season and then really pick up and go again when the hard stuff starts," he says, speaking exclusively to the Hibs Observer

Luke Amos in action for Hibs against PAOKLuke Amos in action for Hibs against PAOK (Image: Cameron Allan)

“I always like to work hard in the off-season anyway, but my season last year was a disaster for me. I missed the first six months and then I had the opportunity to sign for Hibs, and then I got another injury, so I felt like I didn’t really need too much rest at the end of the season.  I saw an opportunity to tighten up technically, build up my load physically, get some more confidence in my body and go straight into work. And Bali is an amazing place so it felt a bit easier working there than in the windy and rainy UK!"

He smiles, acknowledging the cliché, but Amos has always been one to think outside the box. His desire to learn another language and time spent studying French while at school culminated in the midfielder hiring a tutor to continue working on the language while working his way through the Tottenham Hotspur academy. After parking his studies when he was close to the first team under Mauricio Pochettino, he resumed them after suffering an injury in late 2018, and again when the 2019/20 season was on hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Perhaps joining Hibs was another case of thinking outside the lines. After graduating from the Spurs academy and completing loan spells with Southend United, Stevenage, and Queens Park Rangers, Amos opted to join the Rs on a full-time basis in 2020, playing 60 times and scoring six goals before being released in the summer of 2023. A trial with Reading came to nothing and he was keeping his fitness up by training with Tottenham's under-23s.

Then came an unexpected message from a former team-mate. 

"In late December or early January, I got a text from David Marshall, who I’d played with at QPR. He didn’t really know what was going on with me so he was asking how I was, what I was doing, and he said he’d spoken to the gaffer [Nick Montgomery] about me and they were interested but he wanted to get my opinion on Hibs and coming up to Scotland. Immediately I called another player who’d played up in Scotland… but on the other side of Edinburgh! It was Jimmy Dunne who was at Hearts and we had a catch-up and he really sold it to me," Amos recalls.

Luke Amos helps Jimmy Dunne celebrate his goal against Reading during a Championship match in January 2022Luke Amos helps Jimmy Dunne celebrate his goal against Reading during a Championship match in January 2022 (Image: Getty Images)

“Then I spoke to the gaffer at the time, Brian McDermott, and Marshy again and they all sold it to me too. I wasn’t quite ready for the trip to Dubai because I was still coming back from the injury so when they came back I dropped the gaffer a message and said I’d love to come up. I spent a few days and the decision was made pretty quickly. I wanted to sign, the club wanted to offer me something, so it was a quick turnaround and before I knew it I was on the bench against Rangers. I’d literally signed the contract that morning, then worried if it was all going to go through on time - it did, so I was able to be on the bench."

A handful of substitute appearances followed, plus one start in the Scottish Cup at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, before Amos suffered another injury set-back late in February. It was a brutal blow for a player who was looking forward to a fresh start at a new club.

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"It was tough, because when you're out for so long and you miss pre-season, the group is already six months ahead of you. So you've got to try to catch up and not only was I trying to catch up, I was trying to impress in a new team and the gaffer had given me a really big opportunity.

"I wanted to play well for him, get in the team, get some results for him. It was quite frustrating in the end because I was quite disappointing, I sent him a message after explaining that for the last eight weeks of his spell, I wasn't able to contribute because of my injury and it was really frustrating because I felt like I had a lot to offer and I wasn't able to do that. I felt a bit bad in the end, but I guess that's football."

I ask if it felt even more challenging having to deal with another injury and rehab while trying to make an impression at a new club, under a new manager. 

"There's always pressure. I always put pressure on myself to do well and be the best I can be. I try not to let external pressure get to me but I'm only human. You want to impress everyone, you want to play well, you want to train well, and for me, it was a new year and I wanted to kick on and just show everyone what I can do," Amos replies.

"It didn't quite work out that way but that's the way life goes, that's the way God had it for me, so at least I had the chance to work during my time off and fully take part in the training camp and friendlies. Everyone is always judged but I think now is a good time to judge me because I've managed to get that pre-season under my belt."

So what can fans expect to see from Amos? How would he describe his game?

“I wouldn’t want to particularly label myself but I’m probably an all-action midfielder; a number 8. I like to get up and down, I like to score goals - but who doesn’t - and I like to think I add a physical aspect in terms of my pressing and energy and getting around. I can handle the ball well too.

“I would like the fans this season to see an all-round midfielder, see someone who works really hard for the team. I’d like them to celebrate with me when I hopefully contribute with a few goals. 

Amos celebrates scoring for Spurs against Schalke in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League International CupAmos celebrates scoring for Spurs against Schalke in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League International Cup (Image: Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

“But at the moment I’m still taking things day by day, week by week, getting better each day, getting fitter, getting stronger. I know I’m a good player. It’s just building up, building up, and building up so I can show that to everyone."

Amos has caught the eye in pre-season, with an energetic display at ten against Edinburgh City, followed up by 45 minutes in a deeper role alongside Nathan Moriah-Welsh against MSV Duisburg, and a few minutes as one of the midfield three in Gray's 532 formation against PAOK. It's early yet and a small sample size, but it looks like there could well be a starting berth for Amos no matter what formation Gray opts for. Having served as first-team coach to Montgomery, the new Easter Road head coach will know all about the midfielder's strengths and weaknesses and with whom he plays well - but he's also helping to foster a positive atmosphere. 

“From day one the gaffer told us, ‘The past is in the past’. From that moment, or even before because he was in the building anyway, the mood has been really positive. Everyone is super excited to get going," Amos reveals. 

“We’ve got a really good group and that does play a big part. If you come into a new season and no one wants to be here, players are moping around and stuff, it has a detrimental effect on training which ultimately affects performances and how you go into the season. Spending the time in the Netherlands, everyone’s playing cards together and bonding and whatnot so it’s a really good group and it really does make a big difference on the pitch."

There is an obvious trend with recent Hibs signings. The signings of Josef Bursik, Warren O'Hora, and Marvin Ekpiteta were accompanied by glowing references to their personalities from sporting director Malky Mackay. Moriah-Welsh is another player signed this calendar year who has received rave reviews for his character while Amos appears to be cut from the same cloth. 

“Coming through at Tottenham, there are things that stick with me forever. The standards, the way you live, the way you eat.  I’ve seen the people at the top do it. When I was in and around the first team under Mauricio Pochettino, I saw the standards," he explains. 

“But even before that, I’d been in the academy for so long and people like John McDermott [former Spurs academy director, now technical director with the FA] and the staff set such high standards that you have no choice. I was also lucky enough to play for the national team at under-18s so wherever I went, I saw people being professional and training hard, and it sticks with you. It doesn’t matter where I go or what level it is, it’s always something I’ll take with me to ensure I get the best out of myself.

Amos (far right) with Harry Kane, left, and Dele Alli before Tottenham Hotspur's match with Kitchee FC in Hong Kong in May 2017Amos (far right) with Harry Kane, left, and Dele Alli before Tottenham Hotspur's match with Kitchee FC in Hong Kong in May 2017 (Image: AFP / Getty Images)

"When you see Harry Kane, everyone talks about him doing his extras and stuff but I saw how diligent he was in the gym and with the food he eats. If it’s good enough for him, how could I not be doing it?"

His final line feels like the type of quote any football club would be scrambling to paint in three-foot-high letters on the walls of their training centre. If every player at Hibs strives to get the best out of themselves this season - and going by what the likes of Bursik, Ekpiteta, O'Hora, Moriah-Welsh, Martin Boyle, Josh Campbell, Harry McKirdy, and David Gray have all said so far, there's a good chance of that happening - then it bodes well for the season.