John McGinn: Hibernian expect new Celtic bid for Scotland midfielder

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Hibernian manager Neil Lennon expects Celtic to make a third bid for Scotland midfielder John McGinn.

McGinn was missing from the Hibs side that romped to a 6-1 first-leg win in their Europa League qualifying round tie with NSI Runavik.

Lennon insisted his player was not 100% fit with a thigh injury, but admits he has been affected by the speculation.

"He's a human being. It's a huge club interested in him, the biggest in Scotland, the champions," said Lennon.

"There has been a substantial bid but it doesn't meet our valuation, so it'll be playing on his mind because it's impossible not to.

"The ball is firmly in Celtic's court. Our club have made our stance clear. I would expect Celtic to come again."

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers conceded Hibs are entitled to demand more for their prized asset, after rejecting a second bid believed to be in the region of £2m.

"John's a very good player, but he's a Hibs player, and they have every right to decide what their valuation of him is, like we did with Stuart Armstrong," said Rodgers.

Celtic sold Armstrong to Southampton in a £7m deal last month, with the 26-year-old signing a four-year deal with the English Premier League side.

The Glasgow club has targeted Scotland team-mate McGinn as a replacement, but the 23-year-old still has a year remaining on his Easter Road contract.

Rodgers would not be drawn on whether a third bid will be made for McGinn, who has been at Hibs for three years, saying: "Time will tell.

"That's something for the clubs to organise," he said. "I coach the team, I manage the team. We target players but ultimately any agreements have to be between the two clubs.

"We respect John is still very much a Hibs player and unless there's an agreement then like I say, it's going to be a difficult one. That's really between the clubs."

Tom Rogic and Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers welcomed Australian midfielder Tom Rogic back to pre-season training

Rodgers welcomed back Australian Tom Rogic and Christian Gamboa of Costa Rica to pre-season training after their stint at the World Cup in Russia, while Swedish full-back Michael Lustig will return shortly.

The Northern Irishman hinted that Moussa Dembele, Odsonne Edouard and Olivier Ntcham are still short of fitness and will likely play some part in Saturday's Celtic Park friendly with Standard Liege.

However, he will have to wait for the return of Dedryck Boyata despite Belgium's semi-final knock-out on Tuesday. The central defender remains in Russia for the third-place play-off match on Saturday with England, and then is not expected back for "a number of weeks".

"Ideally you would want your players back as soon as possible," said Rodgers. "But that's the rules, that's how the competition works.

"He played three 90 minutes and played very well. He'll be a better player for being part of that experience."

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