Hibs skipper Ian Murray has admitted it had come as no great shock to be told he wouldn’t be offered a new contract at Easter Road.
The 31-year-old’s second spell with the club he’s supported all his life has come to an end as boss Pat Fenlon begins a clear-out to make way for new arrivals ahead of the new season.
Murray is expected to be joined at the exit door by striker Garry O’Connor while goalkeepers Graham Stack and Mark Brown, who are also out of contract, await their fate.
Scott Taggart and Sean Welsh have already been told they’ll be leaving having been on loan with Stranraer and Partick Thistle respectively, Welsh is understood to have been offered a deal by the Firhill side.
Hibs have also confirmed that loan players James McPake, Matt Doherty, George Francomb, Tom Soares, Roy O’Donovan, Richie Towell and Leigh Griffiths will all be returning to their “parent” clubs although Fenlon will continue to discuss their availability for next season once they return from holiday.
Easter Road fans are desperate to see Coventry City defender McPake make a permanent switch to Edinburgh along with Wolves striker Griffiths although both have made clear in recent weeks their determination to play in England.
Utility man Murray has struggled with a hip problem which required surgery at the beginning of the year, his appearance in the final game of the season his last in a green-and-white shirt as he was omitted from Fenlon’s squad for the Scottish Cup final.
And he agreed the injury had proably played a part in Fenlon’s decision but insisted he expects to be fully fit for next season. “I haven’t played more than 13 games this season so I can fully understand why it has happened. In saying that, I’m fully confident that everything has cleared up and I will be in good shape for next season,” he said. “I had ten great years over two spells and I’m just disappointed I didn’t win any trophies over that time.”
Murray revealed he was uncertain as to what the future might hold as he contemplated being unemployed for the first time in his life but has made no secret in the past of his desire to sample football abroad.
Fenlon paid his own tribute to “Nid,” saying: “He’s been a great pro for Hibernian. It’s been unfortunate he hasn’t played a lot since I’ve been here due to injury, but it’s still been great for me to have him around the place.”