Worried Hibernian boss Jack Ross confessed he had to be talked into giving Scott Allan the green light to make his return from heart trouble.
Easter Road ace Allan has gone public to disclose the mystery illness which kept him out of action for five months earlier this season.
The 29-year-old has been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition which thickens the walls of the heart chamber and makes it harder for the organ to pump blood around the body.
However, Allan – who is also diabetic – has now been given the all-clear by doctors to resume playing duties after tweaking his hydration routine and diet.
He made his comeback in last month’s Betfred Cup semi-final defeat and will again be in Ross’ squad when they host Hamilton on Saturday.
But the Hibs manager admits it took some persuading to allow his star playmaker to pull on his boots at Hampden as he fretted over Allan’s health.
“When Scott began the process of trying to get back fit, there was a process we had to build up at the club,” explained Ross.
“I had to make sure what I was doing on the training pitch with Scott and how I was using him was satisfying all the criteria.
“When we got to the later stages (of his comeback) I had a good conversation with Scott about the fact I was still slightly apprehensive purely because I didn’t want to put him in any danger and I suppose, selfishly to a degree, then (be) deemed responsible for that.
“I had to have that conversation with Scott and once we felt we were meeting all the medical criteria, that final part was about making sure he was entirely comfortable.
“He said he was, which meant we both had to accept he was ready to go again.
“The frustration is we’ve not been able to get him more game time because of Covid, which has held back his progress.
“Ideally he’d have made his return in better circumstances but for him to be back on the pitch at Hampden was great.
“He’ll remain involved and I envision him playing a part in our remaining fixtures.
“It’s hard to predict how much but Scott and I’ve been quite candid in saying anything we get from him this season is a bonus given where he was not so long ago.”
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy played a part in the deaths of former Celtic and Motherwell star Phil O’Donnell and Cameroon ace Marc-Vivien Foe, while it was also caused Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba to collapse on the pitch in a game against Spurs in 2012.
Allan says the urge to have his young son Zac see him in action again was the main driving force behind his return.
But Ross revealed he had to sit his player down and make sure he had considered all the risks facing both himself and his family.
He said: “Scott has children and that gives you a different perspective on life. I don’t think he needed me to highlight that for him.
“I don’t think Scott would ever have come back to playing if he felt he was putting himself in danger.
“But I think it would be remiss of me not to bring that up as this is about being a human being – not a footballer.
“We had some fairly emotional conversations as it’s not a nice one to have for a 29-year-old man.
“Thankfully we’re in a position now where Scott has been back part of the squad for five or six weeks. That’s great for him first and foremost.
“It’s been a really challenging period for him.
“Looking back to when I first spoke to him after he was given his initial diagnosis down in London, there was an emotional aspect for both of us.
“I understood the impact it was having on him as a person but at no point did it ever drift towards how it impacted us on the playing side.
“I never at any point allowed it to drift towards this being a bad thing for me not having this talented player at my disposal.
“It flips a little bit when he came back to health because it is a major plus to have him in the squad again.
“But certainly at the time it was much more about looking after him as a person.”