Alan Stubbs has insisted Scott Allan remains a vital member of his Easter Road squad despite the midfielder making it clear he wants to leave Hibs and join his boyhood heroes Rangers.
After the Edinburgh club rejected two offers from Ibrox – £175,000 and then £225,000 – the 23-year-old slapped in a transfer request, only to have it rejected just as firmly as Hibs had rebuffed Rangers’ approaches
But now, Stubbs revealed he expects Allan to knuckle down a reproduce the form which saw him named last season’s Championship player of the year – just as he did when a youngster at Bolton Wanderers and agitating for a move himself.
While he believes he can appreciate the situation Allan finds himself in, Stubbs insisted his own 20 years ago circumstances were entirely different. In what way? “I wasn’t going to our nearest rivals,” he replied, “And I went for £4million, that’s how it’s different.
“When I did it, I was still there for the season and I stayed until the end of the season. I knuckled down. Of course I had to contend with things, but you have to go through that as a football player. Everything is not rosy in the garden.
“You have to deal with ups and downs, situations that are part of being a footballer. But you learn from things, you learn from situations and I am certainly dealing with Scotty better than I was dealt with, I can tell you that.”
To that end, Stubbs decided put Allan on the bench as Hibs faced Rangers in the Petrofac Training Cup last weekend, a move, he claimed, was made with the player, who is in the squad for tomorrow’s League Cup tie against Montrose, in mind.
The head coach said: “The whole situation was a big factor in why I left him on the bench. There is a human element to the decisions I make. I’ve read some people saying I should have thrown him in. But I felt it was the right thing to do for the football club and for the team, but for Scott as well.”
Stubbs believes there’s little left to be said regarding the Allan transfer saga, with Hibs having made their position absolutely clear to him, his representative and Rangers. He said: “We’ve been very clear from the beginning, we will not do business with Rangers over Scott Allan.
“We have not wavered in our stance and we won’t waver. That is our position and I think it has to be respected. The board and myself have been on the same page from the very start, We said we would not welcome any bids from Rangers whatsover. That’s not going to change.
“The transfer request doesn’t change our position as a football club. We will not do business with Rangers, I don’t know how clear I have to be.”
Now Stubbs hopes those differences can be put aside and that Allan concentrates on his football. He said: “The transfer request is not an indictment on me. It’s just Scott doing what he is getting told to do and what he feels he can do to push the move.
“But it’s irrelevant. It is not going to change. I will not fall out with Scott Allan, I will not lose any respect for Scott Allan whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned, he is still a vital member of my squad.”
Stubbs declined to comment on claims Allan had a verbal agreement he could go if a bigger club came in for him, insisting he wasn’t involved in any such discussion if there had been one, while chief executive Leeann Dempster refused to confirm or deny it’s existence, saying: “I would never discuss the content of a player contract or the discussion around a player contract and I’m sure you wouldn’t expect me to.”
Allan and Rangers have dominated the headlines for the past week and more, almost overshadowing the fact that Stubbs, his assistant Andy Holden and first team coach John Doolan had extended their own contracts, a move which, the former Celtic and Everton defender insisted was not dependent on assurances the player would be staying.
He said: “I could easily have signed my contract when we first started negotiating at the end of May, beginning of June. I wanted to make sure all the players were organised before me, that’s the way I work. I will always come second to them and that’s why I was very relaxed about it.
“It was an easy decision to make. I’m very ambitious and the people around me are very ambitious. The board, Leeann, everybody is ambitious. When you’ve got people like that and they buy into what I want to do and I buy into what they want to do and the vision is very clear, it becomes a very easy decision.
“It had all been agreed for a number of weeks.”
Holding on to Allan, he insisted, merely highlighted those ambitions. He said: “You want to keep your best players and Scott certainly falls into that bracket. It underlines how different it is now. We want the fans to really get behind this club. When you have been hit from pillar to post, the one thing the fans have taken comfort from is the fact we’ve been very clear and adamant that our stance will not change.
“They’ve suddenly found a new profound sense of optimism that the club is different now. I feel that they can see what is going on on the pitch and that decisions are being made in the best interests of the football club.”
And Dempster was equally delighted to have Stubbs, Holden and Doolan agree new deals, admitting it was important to have them do so rather than be going into the season with the prospect of their contracts expiring at the end of it.
She said: “The situation with the management team is something we’ve been keen to do, as have they. We’re delighted we’ve managed to achieve it and it shows the idea of continuity and ambition for the club and the fact we’re looking to the future. We can’t kid ourselves on, the situation with Scott and the transfer request has been a distraction, but we’ve been focused on getting deals for Alan and his team concluded. We’ve been thinking about the bigger ambition and direction of the club and I believe what Alan and his team have done deserves a new deal.
“For us it’s about having them committed to the club and I think that’s a massive statement.”