Hibs’ absolute determination not to sell their star player Scott Allan to Championship rivals Rangers won’t waver even if the player hands in a transfer request, the Evening News can reveal today.
The Easter Road club have already rejected two bids for the 23-year-old, the first for only £175,000 – with “payment terms to be negotiated” – and a follow-up offer from Ibrox of a further £50,000.
In each instance, it took chief executive Leeann Dempster and her fellow directors only seconds to say “No” and that, they have emphatically insisted, will remain their stance regardless of any further developments as they’ve stressed they’d rather let Allan’s contract run down and allow him to leave for nothing at the end of the season rather than sell to Rangers.
The latest twist in the saga which overshadowed the build-up to Saturday’s Petrofac Training Cup tie between the clubs are reports that Allan now intends to hand in a written transfer request alongside a claim he has a verbal agreement he can leave Hibs if a bigger club makes a move for him.
Hibs, however, are adamant he won’t be sold to the Glasgow outfit, a move which clearly wouldn’t be in the club’s best interests as they prepare to go head to head with Rangers for the Championship title and, with it, the only automatic promotion place to the Premiership.
Having missed out on a return to the top flight last season, Hibs are determined to do all they can to make it at the second time of asking and clearly allowing Allan to leave for his boyhood heroes would seriously undermine that objective. The bond between club and supporters – so sorely strained in the wake of relegation – would also be shattered by the player’s exit.
Rangers, who defeated Hibs 6-2 at the weekend in a game in which former Dundee United and West Brom player Allan started from the bench – a decision made by head coach Alan Stubbs – are also said to be preparing a third bid for the man they covet.
But, the News understands, if they proceed they’ll again be emphatically told there’s no business to be done, a point that has been made to them repeatedly, their persistence in face of Hibs’ opposition irking those in charge at Easter Road.
Stubbs himself was visibly annoyed when the subject was broached again in his after-match press conference, the former Celtic and Everton defender telling the assembled company: “I will answer one question on Scott Allan. It’s three words – not for sale.
“I’m not going to keep answering questions on it at all. This is put to bed here and now.”
However, when asked how disruptive the speculation had been, Stubbs replied: “It’s part and parcel of football but you have to respect a club’s stance when you say a player is not for sale.
“It’s not a ‘not for sale but we will welcome bids’. It’s ‘not for sale’.”
And, despite what might or might not be going on behind the scenes, Stubbs insisted he and Allan won’t be falling out as he explained his decision to leave last season’s Championship player of the year out of the starting line-up on Saturday.
He said: “I didn’t think it would be right with what has been going on. He is a professional footballer but he is a human being and it would have affected him. The two most important things were the team and the club.
“I am not going to fall out with Scotty – far from it. I have a fantastic relationship with Scott and the last year is the best he has played in his short career so for me that won’t change.
“I don’t want to keep getting asked about it. He has one year left on his contract and we said two months ago, and Scotty said two months ago, that he will see how the season goes and he can go for nothing at the end of the season.
“He can sign a pre-contract in January. These are his options and he willl have som every good options as well if he sticks it out.”
And Stubbs insisted he’s intent on adding to his squad rather than selling, confirming Hibs are in talks with former St Mirren midfielder John McGinn. The Scotland Under-21 player is also attracting interest from elsewhere, but Stubbs said: “We will see over the next few days, that’s all I can say at the moment.
“But we will be adding to the squad, rather than anyone leaving.”