BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
JOHN McGinn insists in-demand Jason Cummings is well worth the attention he is currently attracting but claims the striker is priceless to Hibernian.
McGinn believes Cummings ‘single-handedly’ won Hibs their opening-day clash with Falkirk, with the 21-year-old’s double earning Neil Lennon’s side a hard-earned 2-1 victory.
Cummings brushed off the headlines of Hibs’ rejection of a bid of up to £1.7 million from English League One side Peterborough United to turn in a dynamic display that bagged him goals in the second minute and the 48th minute.
And McGinn is hopeful his Scotland under-21 colleague, who last month penned a new four-year deal, will remain at Easter Road beyond the transfer window to strengthen the club’s hopes of promotion back to the Premiership.
He said: “It didn’t affect him, did it? They won’t be the only team that’s after him but he’s just signed a new contract and hopefully he’s happy here, because he’s won us the game, single-handedly.
“I know we helped him but he scored two goals and he was the best player on the pitch. It’s brilliant to have somebody of that quality and that can only help us.
“You’re guaranteed goals and I don’t know what price you can put on that.
“But as long as he’s here and scoring goals then he’ll be happy. He’s enjoying playing with us and we’re enjoying playing with him, and we don’t want him to leave.
“Hibs are a big club, a club that mean so much to a lot of people. It’s a privilege to play in front of so many fans every week.
“I think Jason realises that and he’s not in a rush to leave. Other teams are going to be watching him, that’s what happens if you’re doing well, and I hope other teams will keep watching him because that will mean he is doing well.
“I’m sure he will be attracting attention from teams higher up the leagues, and if they weren’t sure they would only have to watch Saturday’s performance to see what he’s got.
“As long as hey stay away for a bit longer I’ll be happy.”
McGinn’s second-half performance won praise from Lennon after a tetchy match from which Hibs were thrilled to have taken all three points.
Falkirk had prevailed in last season’s encounters, finishing the campaign in second spot on goal difference from Hibs and then progressing from a dramatic play-off final courtesy of Bob McHugh’s injury-time winner.
Whether Saturday’s triumph is a pointer as to the year ahead remains to be seen but, after losing their opening-day clash with Dumbarton 12 months ago, McGinn was simply pleased to start with a victory.
He added: “It’s never easy at Falkirk. They’re a good side and a team that will compete at the top again this season, I’ve no doubt about that.
“It was really important after last season, when we didn’t get off to the best of starts, that we got in front of some teams and we’ve managed to do that.
“We need to carry that on in the months ahead.
“I don’t know about a marker but it’s a really important win. No game in this league is easy and we managed to get one of the most difficult ones to start off with and it was a big test.
“But we’ve come through it and if we can keep being as resilient at the back as we were on Saturday then I think we’ll do very well.”