BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Alan Stubbs has warned Rangers they are wasting their time pursuing Scott Allan, because Hibs will not sell their prize possession – to anyone.
Having rejected ‘out of hand’ two ‘unwelcome’ offers from the Ibrox club, Stubbs is adamant the Easter Road outfit will hang on to the midfielder and let the final year of his contract run down.
The Hibs boss phoned Mark Warburton on Thursday to tell his Rangers counterpart directly that Allan is not for sale.
And Stubbs reckons the former Dundee United and West Brom play-maker should instead set his sights on a switch to the English Premier League in 12 months’ time.
With the two clubs preparing to face each other in Saturday’s Petrofac Training Cup tie, Stubbs said: “I can categorically say Scott Allan will not be going to Rangers.
“We can’t stop other clubs from putting bids in but, once a bid comes in, we have a responsibility to respond to it – and we’ve responded to it.
“Scott has a year left on his contract and our stance is the same as what it was two months ago. We, as a club, are prepared to let Scott run his contract down.
“Scotty has an option of, at the end of this season, potentially, I feel, playing at the top level.
“I honestly believe Scotty can play in the Premier League in England. I can’t say that about everybody. He’s got a fantastic opportunity.
“Our stance is very strong – we are not prepared to sell Scott Allan, because he is fundamental to what we want to achieve.
“You don’t sell your best players. No matter who you are, you don’t sell your best players, especially to your closest rivals.
“I spoke to Mark this morning (Thursday). I have a good relationship with Mark.
“It was me who made the phone call and I was making Mark aware of our stance. It is just respect and it was a respectful phone call.”
Asked what he thought of the size of Rangers’ initial £175,000 bid, he added: “To be honest, it doesn’t say a lot for what they think of Scotty.
“It’s irrelevant whether it’s £5,000, £50,000, £100,000, we’re not prepared to sell him.”
Allan has been made fully aware of Hibs’ resolute line on any bids that do come in for him before the summer transfer window closes.
With the 23-year-old key to the club’s hopes of promotion back to the Premier League, they claim will not listen to any offers.
It is a stance that will be welcomed by supporters, whose loyalty would be severely tested by any decision to cash-in on Allan.
But, with Allan said to be keen on a move to his boyhood heroes and preparing a transfer request, the player’s reaction to the firm position could prove pivotal.
Speaking before the second offer of just £225,000, Stubbs added: “We were very up front. I’ve spoken with Scott and told him exactly the situation, that there has been an offer and that it has been rejected.
“He was aware, I’m sure his advisors have told him. I’m sure they’ve told him everything.
“We are trying to put together a team which we feel will have a chance of being close for promotion this season.
“My relationship with Scotty is very good and because there’s been an offer it’s not going to change the way I speak to Scotty – certainly, from my point of view.
“Scotty has always been very respectful, we’ve worked really well together. Myself and Scott have a very good respect for each other and I don’t see any reason why that should change.”
Turning his attention to Saturday’s match, Stubbs has rejected Warburton’s dismissal of the tie as just part of Rangers’ pre-season preparations.
The Ibrox boss was irked at reaction to the draw, adding at the weekend: “People were talking as if we’d drawn Real Madrid.”
With Rangers winning in extra-time at the same stage of the competition last year, Stubbs said: “Every game for me is important.
“We have played our pre-season games and this is our first competitive game. In my mind-set it is an important game.
“This is a great game for us and there is a bit of deja-vu from last season. I think it is a fantastic tie.”
* Alan Stubbs was speaking as Petrofac Training Services launched its new #KeepUp Fanzone, which takes place at tomorrow’s Petrofac Training Cup tie against Rangers at Easter Road.