Neil Lennon has revealed he’s dreading the day John McGinn leaves Easter Road, but admitted he’d be “amazed” if Hibs didn’t receive more bids for the Scotland midfielder in the coming week.
The English transfer deadline closes on Thursday night and although Brighton and Blackburn have both been credited with an interest in the 23-year-old, Lennon insisted the only concrete offers to the Capital club have come from Celtic, their third bid of £2million still not meeting Hibs’ valuation.
“I do not know is the answer,” replied Lennon when asked if he thought yesterday’s 3-0 win over Motherwell on the opening day of the Premiership season may be McGinn’s last for Hibs, his performance on the day described by the head coach as “outstanding”.
He said: “John is one of the best I have worked with of all the players I have worked with in terms of what he brings to a team and his influence. If he does go it will leave a huge hole, but one we will have to try to fill.
“Whether he is here on Thursday or not, it is going to be a fraught couple of days for me.”
Describing McGinn as “the heartbeat” of the Edinburgh side both offensively and defensively, Lennon continued: “He has that inner drive and strength now. He has developed physically in to a real specimen. He can kick on, he is ready.”
And Lennon admitted that just as when he was manager of Celtic and no-one made a move for Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk until Southampton swooped with a £12m bid for a player who is now with Liverpool who spent £70m for his services, he is bemused as the lack of clubs backing their supposed interest with hard bids.
He said: “John is at the peak of his powers at the minute. He has handled the situation brilliantly and that speaks volumes for him, not just as a player but personally because it can’t have been easy for him.
“He is a value, but the only concrete offer has come from Celtic and that doesn’t meet our valuation.”
Meanwhile, Lennon admitted defender Darren McGregor is an injury doubt ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League third qualifying round match against Norwegian outfit Molde.
McGregor sat out the win against Motherwell, secured by goals from Stevie Mallan – his fifth in five games for Hibs – Oli Shaw and Martin Boyle, as did Swiss striker Flo Kamberi.
But while Lennon expects Kamberi to overcome the knee problem which saw him face Greek side Asteras Tripolis with the joint heavily bandaged, he’s not so sure about McGregor, whose ongoing knee problems make it difficult for him to play three games in a week.
“Flo should be all right,” he said, “He has had a bit of fluid in his knee and it flared up again after playing 90 minutes on a very heavy pitch.
“Darren’s knee was very puffy before yesterday’s match, so we will see how he is over the next couple of days.”