Promotion strengthens negotiating position of Hibs boss

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon
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Neil Lennon knows it is inevitable Hibs might get an offer they can’t refuse but insisted the Easter Road club’s return to the Premiership will make it harder for others to lure away prize assets such as Jason Cummings and John McGinn.

There’s been plenty of speculation regarding the future of both Cummings, Hibs’ top scorer in each of the past three seasons, and Scotland midfielder McGinn, the Championship’s player of the year.

But, as yet, according to Lennon, there have been no offers not only for either of them but for any of his title winning squad although, he conceded, that may change in the coming weeks.

Stressing his desire to keep the nucleus of his current squad together – all of those out of contract have been offered new deals – while adding “some quality” as he prepares for a return to the top flight, Lennon said: “For a club in Scotland we are in a healthy position. We are not getting ahead of ourselves but we feel we can make a move in the Premiership next season.

“We’ve made all of them an offer, some will take it, some won’t. But we want momentum, we want to keep the core of the group together. They’ve played together for two or three years, they’ve had a taste of success, been consistent this season and are comfortable in their environent.

“We are still waiting on a couple of players coming to us with their offers and there might be a bit of toing and froing with that and then we will look to add to that as we need to get some quality in and bolster the squad.

“There might be a couple leave, that’s inevitable. We may get an offer we cannot refuse. I’m speaking hypothetically, but we might.”

As the jewels in the Easter Road crown, Cummings and McGinn would appear to be the most obvious targets for others but Lennon pointed out that both were on long-term contracts, giving the club the upperhand, one strengthened by the fact they’ve won promotion.

“It’s the nature of the game,” he admitted. “An offer comes you can’t refuse although I’m speculating here. We had a £1.8million bid for Jason that we turned down but I’m thinking his worth has gone up significantly after the year he has had.”

McGinn was the subject of a claim that Celtic were “considering” a £1.5m move, the sort of money Lennon insisted he’d find easy to refuse adding: “I think you’d all agree with that as well.”