Hibs to start 'well ahead' of Aberdeen and Hearts as Easter Road club urged to tie down stars
Former Hearts and Hibs midfielder Michael Stewart reckons the Easter Road club are well placed to start next season “well ahead” of their city rivals and Aberdeen.
Owner Ron Gordon revealed he is still looking to double the club’s budget by 2023 and believes, despite the impact of the coronavirus, there will be an increase for next season.
Stewart would like to see some of that money put to use by securing talent already at the club and investing in the club’s academy.
“I know they have already tied down Josh Doig on a deal to 2025, but I would keep on top of his situation and not let it run down,” Stewart wrote in his column for the Scottish Sun.
“If Brendan Rodgers and others are watching the teenage left-back, it makes sense to protect arguably Hibs’ biggest asset.
“I’d also ensure Ryan Porteous and Kevin Nisbet are offered the kind of contract which persuaded Martin Boyle to stay. Porteous, 22, and Nisbet, 24, could be around for another three or four years if Gordon’s extra cash injection can convince them to sign extended deals.
“No one expects Doig, Porteous and Nisbet to stay with Hibs forever, but there shouldn’t be a rush on their part to get out.
He added: “That’s where the third area of the Gordon spend should kick in, building up an impressive youth conveyor belt.
“If Hibs can earn a name as one of Scotland’s elite academies, they can groom the next Doig, Porteous or Nisbet.”
Hibs are well placed to finish third with a five point lead over Aberdeen.
Depending on the Scottish Cup, it is a position which could land them European football until Christmas.
Coupled with an increased budget, Stewart reckons they are set for a “major advantage” over Hearts and Aberdeen.
“If we can say those three clubs will joust for the title of best-of-the-rest, I’d say Hibs will start next season well ahead.
“The Dons are moving in a new direction with Stephen Glass, Scott Brown and Allan Russell.
“They will probably have a new-look squad, too. That means the consistency of years gone by might not be as guaranteed.
“Of course, the gap is now even wider to Hearts, who will come back up from the Championship with so much work to do.”