BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
BRIAN GRAHAM admits he is flattered by Hibernian’s interest after revealing the Easter Road club have held talks with Ross County about his availability.
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has made no secret of his desire to draft in attacking reinforcements to bolster their tilt for the Championship title.
Lennon is an admirer of the 28-year-old, who has kicked off this season with six goals in five games but found himself relegated to the bench against Inverness at the weekend.
While not ruling out a potential switch to the capital, Graham is adamant he remains committed to the Staggies ahead of this weekend’s Premiership visit of Kilmarnock.
“The link with Hibs hasn’t been a distraction – it is a compliment,” said the former St Johnstone and Dundee United man.
“I think Hibs have contacted Ross County but I’m not sure what the latest situation is, I just need to concentrate on Saturday and a massive game against Kilmarnock.
“There hasn’t been a decision for me to make and there hasn’t been anything put in front of me. I know the two clubs did speak but I am just focusing on my football and I’m happy that I’ve started the season well.
“These things can happen and players get linked with here, there an everywhere. But you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. You just need to take things as they come.”
Should he remain in Dingwall, Graham knows he faces a battle for a starting spot with Liam Boyce, who is fresh from bagging a hat-trick in County’s 3-2 win over Inverness last weekend.
Moreover, he is loathe to underestimate the challenge posed by Alex Schalk and Craig Curran.
“I thought the boys were excellent against Inverness and it was brilliant to get the Highland Derby win,” he reflected. “It is not just Liam [Boyce], There are four great strikers at Ross County and any one of us could play on the day.
“So, Monday-to-Friday you need to train well and knock your pan in – and it is up to the manager to make the decision.”
Graham’s immediate focus may be on County’s prospects this term, but he is already considering his future beyond football.
The towering striker was speaking as he attended a tiling course organised by PFA Scotland – in partnership with the DIY Trade School in Coatbridge – alongside the likes of Chris Erskine, Danny Swanson and Darren Barr.
The initiative is part of PFA Scotland’s ongoing campaign to ensure players are prepared for a career after football and Graham has already emerged as teachers’ pet.
“I’m a wee bit of a cheat. I had some experience at this before,” he smiled. “My brother-in-law was a tiler and I left school when I was 15 and worked with him for a year before full-time football.
“So I’m using course to get the papers and, you never know, I could use this one day and work with him after football.
“The boys were giving me plenty of stick because I was a wee bit ahead of them, but they are coming on leaps and bounds since day one and it has been a good experience so far.”
He added: “It gives you a sense of perspective. In football, everything is laid on for you but when you come to something like this it opens your eyes to the big wide world.
“I had that experience before I went to full-time football so I know what it’s like to go out and do some hard graft. I thought I was pretty good at the tiling, but my brother-in-law maybe doesn’t agree!”