HIBS head coach Neil Lennon is thrilled to have completed the signing of Scotland defender Steven Whittaker on a three-year deal, but has dropped his interest in former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant.
Whittaker’s return to Easter Road was announced on Saturday morning and the 33-year-old Former Rangers and Norwich City full back watched on from the stands as a Simon Murray brace and goals from Fraser Murray and Brian Graham saw off Montrose in the opening Betfred Cup clash.
The return of Whittaker, who left Easter Road for Ibrox in 2007, brings to an end a period of protracted negotiations but Lennon insists the full-back’s arrival was worth the wait.
“He’s a model pro and brings quality and experience. He’s had a fantastic career up until now and there’s no question he’ll make us better.
“He’s 33 and players play longer now. He looks after himself and is in in great condition and in pre-season he’s looked fine running-wise so three years is no problem.
“I’ve always admired him as a player. He’s been very consistent throughout his career. He was excellent here when he started off and was probably first pick at Rangers where he had a great time.
“He went to Norwich and got a promotion and played Premier League and we’ve not got an English Championship player coming to play for us.”
Lennon, however, insists he will not be offering terms to experienced midfielder Pennant after the 34-year-old featured in all three of the Leith side’s three pre-season friendlies.
Lennon said: “There’s nothing for Jermaine Pennant at the minute but we might review it later on.
“We were pleased with what he brought but we have prioritised other positions.”