The Rangers chairman said: “The way I viewed it differently from Hibs was that the initial approach came from Hibs. They said, ‘We know you’re interested. If you do want to do business with Scott Allan let’s do it quite quickly so we know where we stand’.
“We proceeded to do it quite quickly so we were surprised with Hibs’ official response that, ‘We won’t sell to Rangers under any circumstances whatsoever’.”
Leeann Dempster, the Hibs chief executive, issued a one-line rebuttal yesterday. She said: “I took the initial call from Rangers. I can confirm that Mr King’s version of events is not correct.”
Allan eventually moved to Celtic last month after Hibs rejected three Rangers bids. King said he understood Hibs’ hardline stance.
“I regard it as an honest mis-communication within Hibs,” said King. “We spoke to a senior person who ostensibly encouraged us to make an offer.
“Then when it went to the highest level of board at Hibs, they said they didn’t think they could do a deal.
“They had sold their season tickets and Scott Allan would have been their marquee player and I get their decision. I accept that. We made a series of bids and it was made clear to us in the clearest of terms that he was not for sale to us. It wasn’t a negotiating position and we backed off at that point.”
King added that he was subsequently gratified when Celtic signed Allan, a development he believes has weakened Hibs’ challenge in the Championship.
“I was delighted to find out that our neighbours assisted us in moving it on,” said King. “It was nice of them to help us out.
“Next season is a different season – next season we will have another five or six Scott Allans. Scott Allan is one player. The value to us of having him taken away from Hibs is more than the value was for us having him the next couple of years. It was a pity as we liked him and Mark Warburton liked him, but Celtic took him and that’s that.”