Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today revealed he hopes to strengthen his squad for the first game of the new year by making a signing within hours of the January transfer window opening.
Stubbs has made no secret of his desire to bring in a striker and defender as the Easter Road outfit step up their bid to beat Rangers to the Championship title and that he’d like to conclude any business sooner rather than later. But he’s now disclosed that negotiations are at such an advanced stage a fresh face could be in place in time for Hibs’ home game against Raith Rovers on January 2.
Stubbs has already been linked with a number of possible targets, the latest being Kilmarnock teenager Greg Kiltie, who is out of contract wth the Rugby Park club on New Year’s Day and has knocked back a couple of offers to stay, while Celtic manager Ronny Deila has denied a somewhat fanciful claim that former Hibs players Anthony Stokes and Scott Allan are poised to return to their former club on loan.
Kilmarnock would be entitled to a compensation fee for attacker Kiltie, who has played at every level for Scotland from Under-15 to Under-19s, but Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster pointed out at the club’s recent agm that fees had been paid for both John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch and that the board were ready to back their manager again.
However, the head coach insisted: “I think it is wrong to speak about players at other clubs – it’s disrespectful. There will be a number of players who are going to be linked with us in the coming weeks.
“We are, though, in discussions and are quite a bit down the line with our targets. We want to do them as quickly as early as we can, I am hoping we can do something as soon as the window opens.”
Asked if that meant he hoped a signing could be in place for the visit of Raith – the SFA offices will be open that day to enable clubs to register new arrivals in time for kick-off provided the necessary paperwork is in place – Stubbs replied: “If everything goes to plan, that will be a big ask, but that’s how quickly we want to do our business. If not, then I think we will certainly be wanting someone in for the following weekend when we play Raith again in the Scottish Cup at Stark’s Park. And they’ll be able to hit the ground running. We won’t be having to do an awful lot with him, to my understanding. We are quite positive on that.”