Neil Lennon has revealed Hibs are exploring the possibility of retaining Efe Ambrose for their return to the Premiership.
The Nigerian defender has made a big impact since arriving on an emergency loan from Celtic two months ago. The 28-year-old’s contract with his parent club expires at the end of the season, meaning he will be a free agent.
“That’s something we’re looking into,” said manager Lennon, when asked about the chances of Ambrose remaining at Hibs. “He’s not our player, but if we get an opportunity to sit down with him next week and see what his plans are, then it’s something we will pursue. Obviously we’d have to speak to Efe, his representatives and Celtic as well.
“It’ll depend on his own personal circumstances. He’s just had a baby boy. Does he want to stay in Scotland? If so, there aren’t many better clubs outside Celtic than here. Does he see himself in England? If so, there are visa issues he’d have to consider. He’s a lot to think about over the next couple of months.”
Lennon is hopeful that Ambrose might be of a mind to remain at Easter Road on a permanent basis after rediscovering his mojo following a difficult couple of years at Celtic.
“It’s been a very good move personally for him and also for us,” said the manager. “He’s back playing and showing the country what he’s capable of, the quality of player he is. He loves playing football and he’s playing big games again. He’s a great kid to have around the place – he’s a joy to work with.
“He knows what I demand because of the familiarity we have there [from their times together at Celtic] and I think he’s enjoyed being around the club. He’s certainly enjoyed the adulation that he’s got from the fans – that’s been in abundance.
“I think he needed that because some of the outpourings of ridicule [at Celtic] were way over the top. He’s a class player. As I’ve said before, it’s no disgrace not playing regularly at Celtic at the minute because the bar’s been raised, but he’s still got a huge amount of quality and can play at a very high level in the game. Certainly in the eyes of the public here, Efe has shown what a quality player he is.”