Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has opened the door for Neil Lennon, his counterpart at Hibernian, to buy playmaker Scott Allan from the champions this summer.
However, he insisted that Aberdeen, who have had midfielder Ryan Christie on loan since January of last year, will not be permitted to make that arrangement permanent.
Rodgers’ predecessor, Ronny Deila, outbid Rangers to sign Allan from Hibs in 2015 but the player has never featured for the first team under the Irishman.
The 26-year-old was immediately despatched to Rotherham on a season-long loan and spent the first half of the current campaign with Dundee before relocating to Easter Road on transfer deadline day in January as part of the convoluted agreement in which Celtic bought central defender Jack Hendry from the Dark Blues and sign goalkeeper Scott Bain, who had only just been signed on loan from the Tayside club, from Hibs until May.
Allan is under contract at Parkhead until the end of next season but Rodgers will not stand in his way.
“I watched the Rangers v Hibs game the other day and thought that Scott played really well in it,” he said. “Sometimes there are players who are just suited to a certain club and when I look at Scotty he seems right at Hibs.
“He’s a great boy – I’ve never had an issue with him but he is at a stage in his life where he wants to play. I had a good summer working with him when I came in here but he’d had a few ups and downs and it was about letting him go out and play somewhere. Scott has a lot of qualities.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes stated earlier this week that he would try to persuade Celtic to sell Christie but Rodgers stressed that the 23-year-old remains in his thoughts.
“The plan was always for Ryan to come back,” he said. “I looked at it last summer after he’d spent six months on loan to Aberdeen, working with Derek at a fantastic club, under pressure, and asked: ‘Is it better him to play 40-plus games for them or maybe play between five and ten for me?’
“We had a call-back [facility] in January if we’d wanted him but I always felt a year playing out, working on his game and his physical strength, on preparing week-in and week-out for games would benefit him and benefit Celtic. I believe that he’s made the most of his opportunity with them.
“As a staff, we’ve watched him closely in a lot of the games and he’s been a really influential player for Aberdeen.
“So the plan will be for him to come back and reintegrate into the squad here over the summer and he has a year left on his contract, so we’ll look at it from there.
“I can’t blame Derek for wanting to have a player of that quality but it’s not a discussion we’ll have. Ryan will come back here.”