HIBS will only have a three-hour window on New Year’s Day to complete the transfer of Eoin Doyle and clear the way for boss Pat Fenlon’s first signing to make his debut against Capital rivals Hearts the following day.
Although the 23-year-old striker has agreed an 18-month deal at Easter Road, Hibs still need to secure international clearance to complete his move from League of Ireland outfit Sligo Rovers, and that cannot be done until the January transfer window opens.
The SFA offices at Hampden will open for business at 9.30am for just three hours on January 1 to allow the necessary red tape to be completed by clubs making early transfer moves.
Hibs intend to have all the required documentation in place, but the final step requires the intervention of the SFA and their Irish counterparts.
However, Hibs aren’t the only club hoping their will be no hitches, with Dundee United manager Peter Houston hoping to get the green light to field Doyle’s former Sligo team-mate Richie Ryan against Aberdeen on January 2, the player having agreed his switch to Tannadice nearly a fortnight ago.
Today Hibs executive director Scott Lindsay explained: “We will have everything done this end that requires to be done. What we need is international clearance and that requires the SFA to be dealing with their counterparts at the FAI to make that happen.
“I am aware there’s more than one player coming from that League to Scotland in the January transfer window so hopefully the two parties can do whatever is necessary to make the player available.
“We can do all the preparatory work but we cannot get ahead of ourselves. You can’t get the international transfer certificate issued before the transfer window but hopefully all steps can be taken to prepare and allow for that process to take place on January 1 to make him available for the following day.
“Because of the way the system works, it is out of our hands and into the hands of others. The system is computerised and standardised across the world of football and it will require all parties to be online to make it happen.”
Lindsay insisted he was “pretty confident” everything would be in order for Doyle to enjoy a baptism of fire but admitted that although the SFA offices were open again on the morning of the derby, the fact the match kicks off at 12.15 pm means, in effect, the paperwork would have to be completed the previous day.
Meanwhile, although Sligo are investigating whether they are due a “training and development fee” for Doyle, it is understood Hibs strongly believe none will be necessary.
“Hopefully all steps can be taken to prepare and allow for that process to take place on January 1.”