Nick Montgomery has revealed he told Jair Tavares to let go of the past in order to build his Hibs future.

The Portuguese attacker, frozen out under previous manager Lee Johnson, has enjoyed a swift revival under his new boss, starting the last five matches in all competitions. He bagged a first Hibs goal in the 2-2 draw with Ross County earlier this month, and Montgomery admitted to being 'really, really proud' of how the 22-year-old has turned his situation around.

Montgomery offered every player a clean slate following his arrival from Central Coast Mariners back in September. And he made it clear to Tavares that getting his career back on track would require moving on from his previous struggles.

“Jair is a great example to any player who possibly moves to a club and things don’t quite go to plan," said the Hibs manager. "Because there is no doubt that he had a tough time. But the first thing I said to him was that you have to forget about the past. You can’t have a victim mentality because, if you do, it can be hard to move and recover.  

“I’m really, really proud of Jair. And I’m happy for the team because the boys supported him through a tough period. Everyone can see the ability he has. And he’s a real team player, a hard worker who has been outstanding in the run of games he’s had since we got here.  

“His is a great story for any player, young or old, thinking that their career is finished at a club. Because suddenly there is a change of manager and you get an opportunity to impress.  

“Being a footballer is mentally hard at times. Everyone wants to play every week. But most weeks there are a lot of players – especially in some of the bigger clubs down south, who might have a squad of 40 – who just can’t play.  

“The players not playing, they are the most important guys when it comes to management. I remember Jose Mourinho saying the one thing he’ll never be able to fix is the fact that the players in the time like him, but the players not in the team don’t like him.

“I think those players can still respect and understand the situation. And you have to make sure those players are ready, that they’re mentally up to speed. We’ve got eight games in December so it’s important that everyone remains included.

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Montgomery says he immediately saw something in the former Benfica youth, and was quickly impressed with his effort, ability, and willingness to learn.

“I came in with an open mind," the manager continued. "I saw what players were doing in training, without having a bias. I knew about players’ situations when I arrived but his effort in training was always very good.

“He’s also really receptive and he’s an intelligent footballer. And you want people who have pride in wearing the badge, who want to play for Hibs. He has that.

“Jair is beginning to show his ability. With having missed so much football, it takes a couple of matches to get that game awareness. But he’s been great for us."