Neil Lennon believes Scott Allan is desperate to start playing for Hibs again straight away rather than wait until the start of next season.
The Capital club have agreed a pre-contract deal with Celtic for the midfielder and now Lennon hopes he can begin a third spell at Easter Road before the transfer window shuts.
Negotiations are taking place between Hibs and Celtic in a bid to allow Allan to make the move immediately, Lennon believing he can make as great an impact as he did this time last year, joining on loan and helping push the side to fourth place in the Premiership table.
Allan was named Championship player of the year after one season with Hibs before moving to Celtic Park, where he failed to force his way into manager Brendan Rodgers’ plans, starting just three matches and being farmed out on loan to Rotherham, Dundee and back to Hibs.
Now 27, Allan has made just 106 starts in a career which has taken him from Dundee United to West Bromwich Albion and on to loan spells with Portsmouth, MK Dons and Birmingham, but Lennon believes the playmaker probably feels it’s time to settle down and fulfil his undoubted talent.
He said: “I’m thrilled, it’s a real coup for us, a player that the fans love and he had such a big impact here last year and in his previous term under Alan Stubbs as well.
“We’re hoping something can get done before the window shuts. If not, we look forward to welcoming him in the summer.
“But he’ll be itching to play. He’s a footballer and there’s nothing worse than being fit and not playing, seeing your weekends pass by and looking at results and games. It’s like Yosser Hughes sitting there thinking, ‘I could do that’.
“I’m not involved in the financial negotiations and I’ve not spoken to Scotty about it, but I’m sure he would want to get out and play like all players would. Scott would fit in straight away with whatever formation we want to play.”
Lennon admitted he was a little surprised at Allan’s lack of action at Celtic, but said: “There’s a lot of competition there. LIke [Efe} Ambrose and other players like that, it’s no disgrace not to play regularly at Celtic with the competition and quality that’s there.
“He’s still a very good player at this level, he’s exciting to watch at times and imaginative. He sees things quicker than others and executes them pretty well. He’s the type of player we’ve missed in the first half of the season.”