Stevie Mallan puts SPFL clubs on transfer alert as ex Hibs man eyes Premiership return

Stevie Mallan has put Scottish Premiership clubs on alert by revealing he wants to move back up the road after becoming a free agent.

The midfielder has been out of Scottish football for over three years after quitting Hibs for Turkish outfit Yeni Malatyaspor, initially on loan before making it permanent. After enjoying the start of his spell there it became a nightmare when he wasn't being paid and he eventually ripped up his contract to return to the UK with Salford in England's League Two.

After two years with the ambitious side, owned by Manchester United's 'Class of 92', the 28-year-old is on the lookout for a new club and admits a return to Scotland is on the agenda after he gets married this summer. He previously starred in the top flight here for both St Mirren and the Hibees, and backs himself to return to that level.

However, Mallan wouldn't dismiss any offers from the Championship. Especially as he's still recovering from a "freak" plantar fascia injury which ruled him out for the last part of the Ammies' season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Scotland, he said: "I feel like I've done my time away. Me and my missus haven't lived with each other for four years. I went to Turkey and when I went to Salford it was last minute so we couldn't fix anything. My promise was at the end of my tenure at Salford was that I'd look to come back up to Scotland, I told my agent that as well. Post-wedding we want to start a family and be living together. I do want to be back living in Scotland and playing in Scottish football."

Asked if it would be the top flight he would be looking at or whether he would be open to the Championship, he went on: "I don't know, honestly. It's just one of those ones when the options come through you weigh them up. Obviously, I definitely feel like I can still play Scottish Premiership so that's 100 per cent what I'll be aiming for.

"But with the injury and stuff like that, my options might not be amazing. It might be a case of needing to drop down, maybe sign a one-year contract somewhere and work my way back up. For the life of me, I honestly don't know. I don't think my agent knows either! I think it's just a case of waiting to see what comes through. But 100 per cent I'll be aiming for the Prem because I feel like I'm more than able to play in it.

"He (his agent) has put my name out so every club knows I'm a free agent. So he's spoken to quite a few clubs and everybody has been asking the same things - 'how's his foot, is he back running?' I cant do anything or make a move until I am back running because even if you're injured some clubs will be like 'We'll have him in working with the physios, see how his foot holds up and see what happens', but I'm not even at that point yet, so that's the frustrating part."

Mallan has mixed feelings about his time at Salford - loving everything about the club but having the same injury to contend with twice on different feet. The first ruled him out of the start of his first season before returning to hit a bit of form and help them into the playoffs with four goals.

It happened the other way round the second time, with the problem occurring in his other foot and keeping him sidelined from November to the end of the campaign.

Looking back over his two years, he explained: "In terms of the club and the staff and all the boys, I loved every minute of it. When I was playing, I loved the football.

"The first season I got a freak injury, I tore my plantar fascia in my left foot in a pre-season game and I didn't come back until February, so that was an absolute nightmare. But then from that February to the end of the season was unbelievable. I think I scored three or four in a row and that eventually helped us get to the play-offs because we were kind of up and down. The run we went on when I came back into the team got us into the play-offs. The only negative was we missed out on the play-offs in the semi-final against Stockport.

"Then the season just finished I played pretty much every game from the start of the season until the end of November and then got the same injury on my right hand side. And I was injured until the end of the season.

"So overall a pretty frustrating time when I wish I could have played a hell of a lot more. Obviously they give you a salary and their time and effort and you can't give anything back, it's very frustrating. I came off the back of being in Turkey not getting paid and all that staff. Salford took the chance on me and when you come down with an injury in the first little bit, it's very frustrating because you want to show what you've got.

"When I did play I felt I did well and when I left the fans were singing my praises which is good to hear. Overall, a frustrating time especially being away from home and stuff like that."