Hibs manager Jack Ross wants to offload Florian Kamberi ‘as soon as possible’ after confirming there will be no way back at the Easter Road club for the Swiss striker.
Kamberi, currently back home in Switzerland as he awaits his next move, angered Hibs supporters last season when he joined Rangers on loan and stated it had always been his dream to play for the Ibrox club.
While Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was impressed by Kamberi, as yet there has been no indication he wants to sign him again this summer.
The 25-year-old has a year left on his Hibs contract but Ross insists he has no intention of reintroducing him to his first team squad.
“He remains a Hibs player obviously because he’s contracted for another season but he’s not been part of any of our plans for pre-season or played in any games,” said Ross. “He won’t be part of my plans for the season so we need to find a solution for both parties as soon as possible. The sooner that’s done, the better for Florian as a player and for us as a club.”
Ross was speaking after Hibs lost 3-1 to Celtic at Parkhead in a friendly which saw them field several young players. None of his summer recruits - Kevin Nisbet, Drey Wright and Alex Gogic - were involved as 18-year-old Josh Doig opened the scoring for Hibs before Celtic hit back through Karamoko Dembele and a Patryk Klimala double.
Hibs have attracted criticism for signing new players amid cutbacks at the club which saw existing staff members accept wage cuts or deferrals. But Ross defended the manner in which he has reshaped his squad.
“I’ve had a chuckle when I’ve read or heard some of the comments about us adding three players to our squad,” said Ross. “We lost seven at the end of last season, three out of contract and four returning loans plus if you add Kamberi into that we’ve lost eight. So we’ve lost eight and brought in three, so we are not flush with numbers.
“What that does is allow opportunities for players such as Josh Doig, who has been really good throughout pre-season, and other young players to potentially break through. So that’s a positive for the club. I’m okay, we accept the situation we are in is more challenging. The squad we have got in place has been terrific for me throughout pre-season.”
Ross missed Doig’s goal as he arrived at Celtic Park 15 minutes after kick-off after being caught in traffic on the M8.
“I was taking training (at East Mains) this morning,” he said. “We are pretty short-handed in general so Craig Samson and John Potter took the team and I took the group who played against Aberdeen on Saturday in training this morning.
“For us it was just another fixture to have, it was a late one to schedule in for us and allowed us to get another game in for those that didn’t feature on Saturday at Pittodrie. It was another step towards our preparations in terms of minutes.
“Pre-season can be challenging when you have 20-ish players to try and get enough game time, particularly when games have not been as easy to organise as usual.
“This game brings us up to relative consistency across most of the squad, there are a couple who have been injured and are injured, and are slightly below, but there’s a good chunk who have had three or four games in terms of minutes which is healthy.
“It’s been a peculiar period and I think it will feel slightly strange when we play our first league game against Kilmarnock on Saturday. We’ve had a game at Easter Road as well and played a game here, it is very much different to normal. Although we are starting competitively, it’s going to have a different feeling and there will be a period of adjustment for everybody involved, players in particular. I would imagine some will thrive on it, others will find it more challenging. But it’s nice to be back playing with the uncertainty over the past few months, it will be nice to get the Scottish Premiership under way.”
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