In July the player who had arrived in Leith from Benfica B for an undisclosed fee the previous summer, was told he could move on. He had managed just two starts and seven substitute appearances under former Easter Road boss Lee Johnson and he was deemed surplus to requirements.
But, despite having clocked up just 11 first team minutes since November 2022, after his colleagues squandered a 2-0 lead at Rugby Park, Montgomery turned to the Portuguese winger to try to turn the momentum back in the capital side’s favour.
His introduction didn’t help the team salvage more than a point but it did offer some insight into the way Montgomery will approach his new role.
“It’s a fresh start for everybody,” he said when asked about the 22-year-old’s inclusion. “To be honest, I’m not interested in what went on before.”
A man with a reputation for bringing out the best, especially in promising, young and hungry players during his time at Central Coast Mariners, Tavares could be the kind of raw material Montgomery can work with as he looks to unlock the potential in the squad he inherited and find a way to lift them up the league table.
“He’s a very talented boy and, from what I’ve seen in training this week, he’s got a good attitude.
“You see some of the touches he had, he’s a very good player. And, right now he’s got another opportunity. He’s taken it this week in training, that was why he’s on the bench – and he got on to show it with some good touches.
“I’m not really interested in what has gone on before. I’m only looking forward. I’m really really happy with this squad.”
The determination to make a solid first impression was evident as Hibs got off to a positive start in Ayrshire. With no-one able to rest on their laurels, Dylan Vente played through an early ankle knock.
“In the first minute I tried to clear [the ball] and someone hurt my leg. At half-time it was getting sore and it’s sore now, but I will recover well and be ready for next week because I always want to play.”
And, while the change in management signals a fresh opportunity for some, the Dutchman, who arrived less than a month prior, admits there were some concerns when Johnson was jettisoned.
“The club have spoken to me and said nothing will change,” said the 24-year-old, who grabbed Hibs’ second goal. “And, I like the style with the new coach.
“The manager has been here for just a few days but he wants to bring his style. It’s a lot of information but as players we’ve picked it up well. It’s nice to have support [with another striker] and you have to grow in the partnership. It went quite well, but Christian [Doidge] obviously got a cut above his eye, so that’s not good. But the wingers come from the side too.
“We don’t just play long balls. You saw some good moments but we have to build on that.”