Hibs’ Neil Lennon: ‘John McGinn is a Premier League player’

John McGinn had an outstanding first season at Hibs and Neil Lennon believes he will only get better. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
John McGinn had an outstanding first season at Hibs and Neil Lennon believes he will only get better. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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Neil Lennon is adamant that he will be holding on to John McGinn as he attempts to chart Hibernian’s route back to Scotland’s Premiership.

The Leith club’s new gaffer says he has long been an admirer of the Scotland midfielder, right, and insists he is instrumental to his plans for the Scottish Cup winners.

“I think he would naturally improve anyway regardless of who took over here because he is only 21 but for him to get a Scotland cap playing at this level speaks volumes for the season he has had and I believe there is far more to come from him.

“I believe he has more goals in him than he showed last season but his overall game is very strong at the minute.”

Comparing the Ladbrokes Championship Player of the Year to his former Celtic teammate Scott Brown, Lennon believes there is even more to come from the 21-year-old.

“I think that John is probably more intelligent! John is strong, stronger than he looks.

“Broony, I thought improved under me. He was a great prospect here [at Hibs] and then under Gordon [Strachan] but then he matured and his football got better and I know people will look at the season he had last year but I am pretty sure he wasn’t fit for the majority of the season.

“When he is free and running his football improves. Broony is a top player and if John wants to look at anyone then he could look at him as a good example of where he can get to.”

McGinn had initially caught Lennon’s eye when the Northern Irishman was Celtic boss and the youngster was playing for St Mirren and while the Hibs head coach claims the player is definitely Premiership quality, he is delighted to have inherited him at Hibs.

“I’m very pleased he ended up at Hibs because he is definitely a Premier League player. It was a great bit of business to bring him here.”

But McGinn is not the only jewel, according to Lennon. “I think Jason Cummings will definitely play at a higher level, Dylan [McGeouch] has potential and Darren McGregor, although he had some injury problems, looked a very good prospect at St Mirren.”

Out of contract Paul Hanlon is another who can do a job, if a new deal can be agreed.

“He is a certainly a player I would like to speak to.

“He is a stalwart at the club and I think he is a good player and I would like to keep him here.”