Friday, August 19, 2022
SportHibsJames Keatings not short of offers - but admits he really wants...

James Keatings not short of offers – but admits he really wants more game time at Hibs


Hibs striker James Keatings will not be short of offers this summer – but the 25-year-old admits it is more game time he wants at Easter Road.

The former Hearts and Hamilton marksman notched a brace in Wednesday’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Raith Rovers in only his 12th Championship start of the season.

Easter Road boss Neil Lennon wants the marksman for the Leith side’s return to the top-flight following a three-year absence and has offered Keatings a new contract.

But other Premiership clubs have also made their interest known and Keatings, who has won promotion to the Premiership three times with Hibs, Hearts and Hamilton, admits he has a decision to make over his future.

Keatings said: “You never know what’s ahead. I’ve got my offer here and I’ve got offers, or there are other Premiership teams that have shown an interest as well.

“I want to stay here, I’m happy and I would be delighted to sign tomorrow morning so we’ll see what happens.

“It’s a good position to be in having this interest. Coming off the season I’ve had, it’s probably my poorest season in the last three I would say myself.

“I’ve not played as much and not scored as many goals although I’ve got a few assists this season.

“I’ve still done my part for the team and I’m happy to do that although personally I need to play every week if I’m going to get to the best and the highest I can.”

Asked if the prospect of more game time elsewhere could convince him to leave Easter Road, the former Celtic trainee added: “It makes it difficult. Ask any player, they want to play week-in, week-out.

“No player wants to settle for sitting on the bench, that’s the most frustrating bit.

“You want to be a big part of the success and this season I’ve played a part although I wish I could of played more.

“At the start of the season when I was in the team I was doing well but then I got the injury and it killed my season after that.

“The decision over my future is not something you jump at, you need to think about your personal stuff and what’s best for you.

“I’m loving my time here, the last two seasons have been amazing and I don’t want to look elsewhere.

“I’m sitting with my contract first, other teams have shown interest but I’m delighted to have the offer from Hibs and I’m hoping I’ll still be here.”

Keatings joined Hearts after helping Hamilton reach the Premiership with a play-off victory over Hibs in 2014 and lifted the Championship trophy with the Tynecastle club.

The forward made four substitute appearances in the top-flight during a brief loan stint at St Johnstone from Celtic in 2012 and is desperate to test himself against the country’s leading teams.

He said: “I’m confident I can make the step up. I’ve played with players that are playing in the Premiership and I know my capabilities. I’ve played against most of them and I know I’m good enough to play there.”

Keatings, who scored 12 goals last season, took his tally for this term to seven against Raith and he still has hopes of reaching double figures with games against Ayr United and St Mirren to come.

He added: “That was my target, I just try to beat the target I hit last season.

“This season I’ve played right wing, left wing and against Raith that was only my sixth start up front.

“In six starts I think I’ve scored six goals in that position.

“It’s good from my point of view when I’m playing in that position but it’s a lot harder when you’re out wide to grab goals.

“I’m happy to play anywhere and I’ve not made a fuss about it to the manager when he’s picked me.”

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