BY ALAN TEMPLE, Algarve – @CCP_Sport
Hibs head coach Neil Lennon has revealed that the capital club have rejected a six-figure bid from Turkish outfit Elazigspor for striker Simon Murray.
The 25-year-old only joined the Hibees last summer following a fine season with Dundee United and has impressed at Easter Road, bagging 14 goals in 25 appearances.
He immediately found favour by notching the decisive goal in a 1-0 Edinburgh derby win over Hearts in October.
However, Lennon confirmed that Hibs gave the proposal short shrift and insists he intends to hold on to a player who has confounded his expectations this term.
“We had an offer from Turkey for Simon Murray but we have not accepted that,” explained the Hibs head coach. “As it stands, we’ll be keeping Simon unless another bid comes in that makes us think.
“I think the offer is testament to how well he has done and I’ve told him that he should take it as a real compliment. It should give him a real shot in the arm.
“I think he is ahead of expectations, after the first half of the season, so it’s excellent for him. We don’t want him to go.
“We are in a strong position, we have added to the squad – we think we’ve improved it – and we are in a healthy position off the field. It’s stress-free at the minute, but that can always change!”
There have, however, been no concrete offers for Hibs’ prize asset John McGinn.
Despite the capital club’s desire to hold on to the Scotland internationalist, he only has another 18 months to run on his deal and chief executive Leeann Dempster recently conceded that they are braced for interest in January.
Lennon is equally realistic, but calm, about what the transfer window could bring after adding Jamie Maclaren and Scott Bain to his ranks already.
“I don’t know how it will pan out with John, honestly,” confessed Lennon. “We want to keep him but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t something in the air for him as the weeks go on.
“We are prepared for any eventuality – and you need to be in January, it can really wind you up a bit. We have the structure in place to handle whatever happens.”