BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
NEIL Lennon has accused Scott McDonald of ‘messing Hibs around’ after revealing he pulled the plug on a proposed move for the striker.
Lennon last night claimed he had agreed a deal with the 32-year-old, who he wanted to add experience to his forward line for the new season.
However, he insists the former Celtic marksman then wanted to bring Hibs back to the table to negotiate better terms.
The former Celtic boss is keen to set the record straight after it was implied McDonald had rejected his advances to stay at Fir Park.
Lennon said: “I was surprised at the suggestion that Scott turned down an offer from Hibernian.
“We were interested in taking the player to Easter Road.
“We reached a point where terms had been agreed, but Scott and his representatives came back to renegotiate and we decided to withdraw the offer.
“The board and I will not be messed around with in negotiations, and we will now pursue other targets.”
Meanwhile, Lennon is on course for a reunion with Teemu Pukki after the former Celtic striker helped all but ensure that Brondby will be the Easter Road side’s European opponents.
Watched by Hibs assistant Garry Parker, Pukki netted for the Danes and set up another in a commanding 4-1 win away to Valur Reykjavik that leaves them with one foot in the Europa League second round qualifiers ahead of next week’s return leg in Copenhagen.
The Finnish marksman was signed by Lennon on a four-year deal in 2013 but was allowed to leave for Brondby on loan just 12 months later and then permanently last year having netted just nine times in 37 matches.
The 26-year-old’s strike on Thursday night was sandwiched between a double for Kamil Wilczek and a goal from Christian Jakobsen that Pukki admits puts Brondby and new coach Alexander Zorniger firmly in the driving seat for a meeting with Hibs.
He said: “It gives us a very good starting point for the return game in Brondby next week.
“In the first half, we didn’t play as well as in the second half. We went there for many more chances and luckily we got them. It went quite well.”