BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Hibernian icon Pat Stanton admits he is not surprised by interest in Scott Allan but is hopeful the club’s hierarchy can stand firm and hang on to the star midfielder.
Dundee United, who failed with three offers to land their former player in the January transfer window, have been linked with a fresh approach, whilst Rangers’ have now had an ‘unwelcome’ £175,000 bid for the 23-year-old rejected.
Allan was the fulcrum of Hibs’ attack last season after being recruited on a two-year deal following an unsuccessful spell south of the border with West Brom and is expected to again be key to the club’s attempts to win promotion back to the Premiership.
The Easter Road outfit have so far declared their intention to hang on to the former Scotland under-21 internationalist, with head coach Alan Stubbs insisting he would rather the play-maker runs down his contract and leaves for free next summer than be sold now.
Stanton is a big admirer of Allan and is keeping his fingers crossed Hibs can win the battle of wills should Championship title rivals Rangers increase their initial offer for the player.
And he reckons it could be the most important piece of business the club does if they can hang on to their stand-out performer.
The 70-year-old former Hibs skipper and manager said: “What I will say, is it doesn’t come as a surprise.
“He did really well for the Hibs last season and, with his age, his best years are still to come. Towards the end of the season he was playing really well and seemed to be enjoying it.
“The Hibs fans have really taken to him as well. We’ve got a really good player here and we’d like to hang on to him – it would certainly be disappointing if he was to go now.
“But, unfortunately, we’ve seen it all before. If everything’s right on all sides then something will happen. We’ve seen it for years; you can go all the way back to my hero, Joe Baker, leaving to go to Torino.
“Hibs are desperate to go back up to the top league and to sell one of your top players – and, if it was to Rangers, to your top opponent in the league – would make that difficult.
“So, hopefully he does stay. I’m sure all the fans want him to stay for this season at least, but if bids do come in then it will come down to the resolve of the people on the board. Hopefully they can stay strong.”