BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Tosh McKinlay believes Scott Allan could sparkle at Celtic – because homegrown talents can give the team ‘that bit of extra juice’.
The champions have been linked with a possible move for the Hibernian midfielder, who resurrected his faltering career at Easter Road last season and has 12 months left on his current contract.
Celtic’s Old Firm rivals, Rangers, Allan’s boyhood favourites, have also been credited with interest in the 23-year-old, who finished the campaign as PFA Scotland’s Championship player of the year.
Hibs are desperate to cling on to the former Dundee United and West Brom player, who was their star performer last term and who they believe could help inspire them to promotion back to the Premiership next year.
It remains to be seen whether any club meets Hibs’ valuation of the former Scotland under-21 cap, but McKinlay is a fan of the gifted play-maker and would not be surprised should Celtic make a move.
He reckons the form of Leigh Griffiths towards the end of last season, and his firm belief that Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven will turn into ‘great’ signings, is proof that young Scottish players will raise their game still further when they join the Hoops.
Speaking at the launch of a legends game between Celtic and Dunfermline to mark the 30th anniversary of the passing of the legendary Jock Stein, the former Hoops defender said: “I like Scott Allan. He’s done very well at Hibs after losing his way a wee bit going down south.
“He started very well at Dundee United but it didn’t really spin for him down south. But his form recently suggests he’s on the way back up.
“I don’t know if Celtic are interested or not but certainly there will be a few names bandied about and I’m sure Celtic will take their time.
“For me, personally, Tommy Burns gave me the opportunity to go to Celtic and it’s great that Scottish players are getting the opportunity to do the same. I think Armstrong and Mackay-Steven will go on to be great players for Celtic Football Club. Leigh Griffiths, who I’m a big fan of, was plucked from down south.
“These are players that know all about the history of Celtic, but I don’t think until you actually get there do you realise how big the club is.
“For me, I’ve always said you maybe get that bit extra juice out of players who know all about the place. There’s no doubt that if players know all about the history and know what’s required at the club then you can get that wee couple of per cent that makes the difference.
“I’m going to use Leigh Griffiths as an example because he bided his time and now you’re now seeing the benefits of that. It’s been well documented that John Collins has taken him under his wing and pulled him aside a wee bit and he’s now showing the signs of being a fantastic player for Celtic and scoring a lot of goals.”
The Jock Stein legends match will take place at East End Park on September 6 and will raise funds for both clubs’ charity foundations.