Lennon braced for McGinn exit



Posted Friday, July 13, 2018 by PA

Lennon braced for McGinn exit

Neil Lennon admits John McGinn has had his head turned by the recent interest in him from Celtic.

The Scotland international has been the subject of two bids from the champions, both of which have been rejected by Hibernian.

McGinn was absent from the squad as Lennon’s side kicked off their Europa League qualifying campaign with a 6-1 thrashing of NSI Runavik at Easter Road, sparking concern that he was on his way out of the club.

Lennon insisted after the game that his key midfielder was absent through injury, but admitted he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

“His thigh was heavily strapped yesterday,” Lennon explained. “I know there will be a lot of conspiracy theories flying about, which is fine, but I am in control of this.

“I had a chat with John and it puffed up a bit last night and he slept on it.

“He wasn’t 100 per cent, and he is not 100 per cent mentally either, and if John is to go I need to look at what else I have got.

“But if he is fit to play next week, which he should be by Sunday or Monday, he will start.”

Despite his absence, Hibs dominated from start to finish against a poor side.

Florian Kamberi celebrated his permanent move to the club with a well-taken hat-trick, while Oli Shaw also scored.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the performance however was the instant impact of Stevie Mallan in midfield, who covered for the absence of McGinn as well as the departures of Dylan McGeouch and Scott Allan with two goals.

The win over the team from the Faroe Islands, who had a man sent off in the first half, means Hibs look set to face Asteras Tripolis in the second round of qualifying should they come through the second leg next week and Lennon was delighted with how his side handled themselves.

He said: “It was very professional.

“It’s a great advantage to take to the second leg so I couldn’t have asked any more of them really.

“There was a lot of attacking intent out there – alright, the opposition might not be up to the quality we are used to, but it’s still a job that has to be done and we did it very well.”

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