Few Everton players have had quite as fitting a farewell as Nikica Jelavic.
Making what would be his final appearance for the Blues, Jelavic netted a brace against Queens Park Rangers in the home FA Cup third round tie in January.
But when it come to sealing a hat-trick from the spot, the striker opted to be clever and attempt a ‘Panenka’ style penalty – and promptly chipped against the crossbar.
Starting well but ultimately fizzling out, the afternoon encapsulated the Croat’s Everton career.
Jelavic, though, should be granted a warm reception on his first return to Goodison with current club Hull City tonight.
When David Moyes took advantage of Glasgow Rangers’ fire sale by snapping up Jelavic for just £5million in January 2012, it seemed a canny bit of business.
That was underlined by Jelavic’s blistering start to life on Merseyside.
He netted the winner on his first start at home to Tottenham Hotspur and went on to score 11 in 16 appearances by the end of the campaign.
They were big goals, too, including strikes in wins at Sunderland and Swansea, a double in the remarkable 4-4 draw at Manchester United and the opener in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley.
Nikica Jelavic misses his penalty against QPR on his Goodison swansong
Finally, here was the striker Moyes had craved to provide the finishing touches to his team’s impressive build-up play.
But after returning from Euro 2012 duty with Croatia, matters began to unravel for Jelavic.
Four goals in his first seven appearances of 2012-13 suggested business as usual.
Jelavic, though, wasn’t hitting the heights. And only four goals in a further 36 appearances in the remainder of the season underlined a chronic lack of confidence and saw him start only one game after March.
A subsequent change of manager didn’t bring a change of fortune for Jelavic in 2013-14.
And while Roberto Martinez began the season with the Croat leading the attack, the deadline day loan arrival of Romelu Lukaku signalled the beginning of the end for the forward.
Indeed, his brace on his last outing for the club against QPR were the only goals he scored last season before completing a £6.5m move to Hull City in January.
With just four goals in his first 16 games on Humberside, Jelavic’s rehabilitation was slow going.
But four in nine this campaign – the highlight a memorable volley at Newcastle United – have suggested he is finding his groove again.
Jelavic shone so brightly during his first few months at Goodison that is was always going to be difficult to maintain that form.
Leaving Everton earlier this year was the right move for both parties. But Jelavic deserves to be remembered for the good times when he renews old acquaintances this evening.
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