Neil Lennon has revealed he expects a new deal for Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch to be “very high up the agenda” at the next meeting of the Easter Road board.
McGeouch is out of contract at the end of the season and can begin talking to other clubs in January, a situation Lennon is determined to pre-empt by opening discussions about extending his stay in Edinburgh.
The 24-year-old, initially signed on loan from Celtic by former boss Alan Stubbs before making a permanent move to the Capital, has been in outstanding form this season, with Lennon describing McGeouch and his fellow midfielder John McGinn – already the subject of rejected bids from English Championship outfit Nottingham Forrest – as being “as good as anything in the country at the minute”.
McGinn still has 18 months of his current deal to run although Forest, and possibly others, are expected to test Hibs’ determination to keep the 23-year-old Scotland player, but Lennon disclosed a few weeks ago that exploratory talks regarding his staying at Easter Road have already taken place.
Lennon admitted that while he’d like to see McGinn commit to a new deal with Hibs – there has been no further movement in that regard so far – he is as keen to also tie down McGeouch.
He said: “If Dylan keeps playing the way he is playing we obviously want to sit down and have a discussion. I’m not one of these conspiracy theorists who thinks he’s playing well because he’s in the last year of his contract.
“I think he’s playing well because he’s sorted out his injury problems he had before and to be fair to Dylan he’s basically been fit since the start of the season. Last year was very stop-start for him and psychologically he’s in a very good place at the minute.
“He seems more confident. He’s fully focused, moving well and using his body very well. He looks sharp and really intelligent at the minute, so he’s in a very good place.”
However, the fact McGeouch is only a couple of months away from being in the position to speak to other clubs is very much in the forefront of Lennon’s mind. He said: “That will be something we’ll talk about with the board as well. We’ve got a board meeting pretty soon and I’d imagine that would be very high up the agenda. Not just Dylan, there will be a few players.”
Meanwhile, Lennon was hoping the memory of the visit of Motherwell to Easter Road earlier in the season, when they came from 2-0 to snatch a point and might well have gone on to win the game, will be fresh in his players’ thoughts at Fir Park this afternoon.
He said: “That’s what they have to learn from, that last half-hour and managing the game better. It was a dramatic drop in performance and not just from one or two, the majority of the team. Since then there has been a real improvement in all areas of the team and we’ve played well in the last few games.”
Motherwell’s style of play has been in sharp focus this week following their controversial victory over Rangers to clinch a place in the final of the Betfred Cup, but Lennon is not one of their critics.
He said: “I like the way Motherwell play, they play to their strengths. It got a bit tasty on Sunday, but I can’t possibly criticise Motherwell for adopting that sort of approach – and I won’t. They play a certain way and it’s been very effective for them so far.”