HIBS boss Alan Stubbs today described the departure of Scott Allan to Celtic for an undisclosed fee and the arrival of Hoops youngster Liam Henderson on a season-long loan as “a really good outcome for everyone.”
The announcement brought to a close the intense speculation over the future of Allan, seen as the Edinburgh club’s prize asset, leaving Rangers gazumped as their Old Firm rivals captured the signature of a player they had pursued despite Hibs’ declarations they would not do business with their biggest rivals for the Championship title.
Allan’s departure for Parkhead was also expected to have heralded the return to Easter Road of another Celtic player, 22-year-old midfielder Dylan McGeouch, who spent last season on loan in the Capital before the Hoops invoked the option to keep him for another year.
But while he won’t be making an immediate move east, the Evening News understands talks will be ongoing, with McGeouch likely to now be the subject of separate negotiations while the initial reputed fee of £275,000 for Allan “plus extras” is expected to increase depending on the final outcome of what is a complex three-way discussion.
Nineteen-year-old Henderson could, depending on red tape, be involved in today’s Championship match against Morton in which ex-St Mirren midfielder John McGinn is expected to make his home debut.
Allan’s move to Celtic Park brings to an end a summer of uncertainty at Easter Road, Rangers refusing to accept Hibs’ assertions that they wouldn’t do business with the Ibrox club while insisting they wouldn’t sell no matter the circumstances.
Having seen two thirds of the possible three-way deal fall into place Stubbs said: “Liam is one of the best and most talented young players in Scotland.
“He’s a good, modern midfielder who can score goals, and he has played first-team football for both Celtic and Rosenborg. He’s an exciting player I rate really highly and I am delighted that he is coming.
“While we were prepared to allow Scott to run down his contract and play his part in an important season for us, this opportunity provides a really good outcome for everyone.
“Scott gets a move as he wanted, while we bring in a high quality player who is motivated to join us as we push for promotion.
“I’d like to say I am delighted with the support I’ve had from Rod, Leeann and the Board, and I’d also like to record that Scott has been a pleasure to work with. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “Scott goes with our best wishes. Alan is happy with the outcome. We have brought in a talented player on a loan for this vital season, plus a fee which will help us strengthen the squad for the challenging and exciting season that lies ahead.”
Allan, who has signed a four-year contract at Celtic, joined Hibs in the summer of 2014 and made 30 appearances for the Championship side. He added: “I know a number of players well at the club already.
“So it will be great to team up with these lads again as well as all my other new team-mates.
“I know the high quality of players at the club and I know it will be a big personal challenge for me but it’s one I’m ready for and one I am relishing.”
Despite his boyhood allegiance to Rangers, Allan now has the chance to impress Celtic fans, with the club set to show him off to the Hoops faithful before their match against Inverness today.