HIBS have denied Dave King’s claim that the Easter Road club made the first move by approaching Rangers over the proposed transfer of Scott Allan.
The midfielder eventually moved to Celtic last month after Hibs rejected three bids for the player from the Ibrox club.
Rangers owner King, speaking in Glasgow, questioned the Edinburgh side’s public stance, claiming that Hibs had contacted Rangers to initiate talks over the possible sale of Allan.
When the initial bid was made from Rangers and rejected by their rivals, King said that the reply surprised him. He added that he was “very, very grateful” to Celtic for eventually signing Allan, saying the Parkhead club had “done Rangers a favour” by taking a key player away from their main rivals in the Championship.
“Where I viewed it differently from Hibs was that the initial approach had really come from Hibs,” King said.
“They said ‘we know you’re interested in Scott so if you do want to do business let’s do it quickly so we know where we stand’.
“We proceeded to do it quite quickly.
“We were therefore surprised when Hibs’ official response was ‘we will not sell to Rangers under any circumstances whatsoever’.
“We initially took that as a negotiating position to increase the price. It was only after another couple of rounds of negotiations that we understood they were really serious. No matter what we did they were not going to sell to us.
“Therefore, I’m very, very grateful to Celtic for taking him away from Hibs. They did us a favour rather than leaving him behind.”
However, Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster hit back. In a statement, she said: “I took the initial call from Rangers and I can confirm that Mr King’s version of events is not correct.”