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‘COUGH UP, CELTS,’ SAYS LENNON

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NEIL LENNON has told his former club Celtic they will have to splash the cash if they hope to sign Hibs midfielder John McGinn.

The Hoops had a second offer – believed to be in the £2million region – rejected by the Easter Road club yesterday.

Brendan Rodgers has targeted McGinn, but the champions are not prepared to pay over the odds for a player who is out of contract next summer.

Lennon, though, insisted the Scotland international will not be allowed to leave until the champions meet Hibs’ valuation of their prized asset.

As he prepared his squad for tonight’s Europa League qualifier against NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands, he said: “In terms of whether it’s inevitable that John will go or not, there’s no way I can answer that. That is something you would need to ask Celtic.

“We’ve had two bids which have not been accepted by the club. There’s been communication and I think Celtic are aware of what we value John at.

“I don’t actually know exactly what that figure is. All I know is that Celtic haven’t met it so far.

“It is unsettling for the player – of course it is. This is football and you can’t stop players from progressing, but all the speculation is not an easy thing for him to deal with.

“We just need to manage him as best we can until it’s resolved one way or the other. Scott Allan hasn’t been mentioned in the talks, that’s one thing I can say.

“The best thing for John is to play. I’ve seen no ill-effects in his play. He was excellent against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday and played well at Linlithgow last week. He has a bit of a dead leg, but has trained well today and is available for selection.”

UEFA have relaxed their rules regarding players being cup-tied in Europe, meaning McGinn’s participation this evening would have no impact on his future availability for Celtic this season.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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