ALAN Stubbs left Scott Allan out of the starting line-up against Rangers last weekend and he will consider the impact of the ongoing transfer furore before deciding on the team for tomorrow’s League Cup fixture with Montrose. But if the Hibernian playmaker is benched, his manager says it should not be seen as a punishment.
The Hibs boss says it would be churlish to refuse to see things from Allan’s view but he says that while he understands what the player is going through, he will not be softening his stance, and insists the club will not be selling their star man to Rangers.
“I can’t not understand because it would make me look stupid because I have been in his shoes before,” said the man who handed in a transfer request himself, while he was a player at Bolton Wanderers. Just as Hibs are refusing to accommodate Allan’s preferences, his request was also rebuffed, giving him some sympathy with his midfielder. “I completely understand how he is getting advised at this moment in time.
“Of course I can appreciate where he is. But there were different circumstances. How? Because I wasn’t going to our nearest rivals. And [at the end of the season] I went for £4 million. That is how it is different. When I did it, I was still there for the season and I stayed until the end of the season. I knuckled down.”
Having been forced to stick it out at Bolton, he performed well enough to invite the multi-million pound bid from Celtic. He learned lessons from that episode and he hopes that Allan will take some solace from it as well and bounce back from the mental upheaval and the social media backlash which has dogged his summer and been whipped into a frenzy since he submitted his written transfer request. Stubbs has long since wearied of the turmoil but says that while it still has oxygen his job is to look after the club, as well as the wantaway player.
“Of course I had to contend with things but you have to go through that as a football player,” he added. “Everything is not roses in the garden. You have to deal with ups and downs and situations that are part of being a footballer. But you learn from things. You learn from situations. I’m certainly dealing with Scotty better than I was dealt with. I can tell you that!”
When I did it I stayed until the end of the season. I knuckled downAlan Stubbs
Allan will be in the squad for this weekend’s match, with Stubbs still confident that he can get the best from the player once the hullaballoo has died down.
“Scott will be in the squad. He has been training all week, so there is no reason why not,” said Stubbs. “I think the whole situation was a big factor in why I left him on the bench. There is a human element to the decisions I make. I’ve read some people saying I should have thrown him in. But I felt it was the right thing to do for the football club and for the team, but for Scott as well.”
The “back off” message is stark when it comes to Rangers and their interest but having been unequivocal in their stance regarding selling to a club they consider a direct rival in the Championship title race and the quest for promotion back to the top flight, the Hibs manager would not dismiss selling to anyone else, although he stated that as far as he was aware there had been no other enquiries.
“It is a hypothetical question. I can’t answer that if no-one comes in,” he added. “But if anything comes in, we as a club discuss it and do what is in the best interests of the football club. That is the process.”
Having signed an extended contract Stubbs says he was wooed by what he sees as a statement of ambition by the club, by not only turning Rangers away but also opening the purse strings to bring in further reinforcements, with John McGinn the latest acquisition,
“You want to keep your best players and Scott certainly fall into that bracket. It underlines how different it is now. We want the fans to really get behind this club,” he said. “When you’ve been hit a bit from pillar to post, the one thing the fans have taken comfort from is the fact we’ve been very clear and adamant that our stance will not change.
“They’ve suddenly found a new profound sense of optimism that the club is different now. I feel that they can see what is going on on the pitch and that decisions are being made in the best interests of the football club. When you’ve got that you’ve got unity and that’s what the fans can see. We want to sign good football players and be successful.
“I’m very ambitious and the people around me are very ambitious. The board, Leeann, everybody is ambitious. When you’ve got people like that and they buy into what I want to do and I buy into what they want to do and the vision is very clear, it becomes a very easy decision.”