Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster has declared herself “very happy” with how the Easter Road club are shaping up for the season after beating off bids from Nottingham Forest for midfield star John McGinn.
The English Championship outfit had an initial offer of £750,000 for the 22-year-old Scottish internationalist instantly rebuffed, boss Neil Lennon branding it “laughable” and insisting Forest had fallen well short of the Capital club’s valuation of the player.
Forest, who had signed Jason Cummings – Hibs’ top scorer in each of the last three seasons – earlier in the summer returned with a second attempt, reportedly doubling their first bid.
But again it was immediately rejected, Lennon having signalled the intent to keep McGinn by revealing talks had already begun with a view to extending a contract which already has two years to run.
Lennon, who had made nine summer signings, Simon Murray, Danny Swanson, Efe Ambrose, Ofir Marciano, Steven Whittaker, Vykintas Slivka, Deivydas Matulevicius, Anthony Stokes and Brandon Barker, made clear his displeasure with Forest manager Mark Warburton, saying he wasn’t happy with the way the matter had been handled.
Nevertheless, Forest were widely expected to return with a third and further improved offer ahead of last night’s transfer deadline but, the Evening News understands, it never transpired, McGinn having departed with the rest of Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad for tonight’s crucial World Cup qualifying match against Lithuania in Vilnius.
As the deadline approached McGinn was photographed with his international team-mates training in the LFF Stadionas, Dempster tweeting: “No more business expected, in or out. Very happy with the way we are shaping up for the season.”
Even so, Hibs fans will be breathing a sigh of relief that the speculation surrounding the future of McGinn has come to nothing, leaving the St Mirren player, who Lennon felt had been affected by the situation, to concentrate on helping the Easter Road side build on a promising start to their return to the Premiership.