Hibs 'should keep Ryan Porteous until summer', says former Easter Road boss

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Former Hibs manager John Collins believes his old side should hang onto Ryan Porteous until the summer, amid sustained interest in the player from Udinese.

Porteous returned to the Easter Road side’s starting XI for the cinch Premiership clash with Motherwell at Fir Park and put in an impressive showing, getting the ball rolling for the winning goal and performing well in defence as Hibs earned a vital win.

Speaking ahead of the game, Collins and fellow BBC Sportsound pundit Stephen Craigan gave their thoughts on the player’s situation, with both agreeing that Porteous may end up being more valuable to Hibs if he sees out his contract.

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“You’d imagine Udinese are trying to lowball Hibs – why would they offer a million pounds when he’s only got six months left on his deal? So, do Hibs keep him, thinking he can help them reach the top six or possibly even European football? They are better with him in the team and could potentially make more money if he stays in the team, than if they sell him now for three or four hundred grand. It’s a balancing act,” Craigan said.

Ryan Porteous celebrates at full-time after Hibs defeated Motherwell 3-2Ryan Porteous celebrates at full-time after Hibs defeated Motherwell 3-2
Ryan Porteous celebrates at full-time after Hibs defeated Motherwell 3-2

Collins dismissed Craigan’s suggestion that Hibs are running the risk of having a demotivated player on their hands if he isn’t given the green light to move to Europe this month, but concurred that Hibs look far better with the academy graduate in their team.

"If Ryan has an outstanding January he could have several other clubs interested. That’s the mindset I would have if it was me: ‘I’m a top player and I want to show the world that I should have ten teams bidding for me’. The ideal scenario for Hibs would have been selling him for more money earlier – if they had been doing their job correctly,” Collins offered.

“I think Hibs need him. I wouldn’t be selling him this month; he’s a vital player and you can only sell if you’ve got a better replacement that can make the team stronger. At this moment in time Hibs don’t have a centre-back in the squad better than Porteous, or even close to him. The last thing they want to do is let him go and not have anyone to replace him. They might get £500,000 in the bank, but that’s no good if you’re fighting a relegation battle.”

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Collins, who came through the youth ranks at Hibs in 1984 and spent five years at the club before returning to manage them to League Cup success during a 14-month spell between October 2006 and December 2007, also urged his former employers to sharpen up when it comes to recruitment and youngsters.

“If you don’t recruit players who are better than what you have, then you’re just going round in circles, same routine. If you’re spending money to bring players in, they have to be better. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality,” he continued.

“You’re better bringing in one good player, than four average ones who aren’t going to be in your first team. That’s where Hibs have to improve in recruitment. I think they need more academy players coming through the system, too. Edinburgh is a big city, a big catchment area. In my opinion, they should have more academy products in the first team.”

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