Seven Celtic stars who'll be linked with Neil Lennon's Hibs
Neil Lennon is the new Hibs manager. You've probably noticed. And thanks to those tremendous powers of observation you may also recall Lennon formerly being manager of Celtic, a fact which knits in a new link between two clubs that have been more than happy to deal with each other in the transfer market over recent years. Last season alone they had four players going between the two teams.
For that reason, expect the rumour mill to be wild with stories throughout the summer of Celtic players heading to Hibernian. We’ve had a couple doing the rounds on fan forums already and there’s sure to be more to come.
So, in the interests of some harmless fun - and if you frequently comment on these types of articles you may wish to look up those last two words - we’ve decided to examine a number of players who could potentially be linked with a move to Easter Road before the transfer window SLAMS shut on 31 August, while also rating the probability of a transfer or loan move out of 10.
Hibs were linked with a January move for the winger who’s been, to put it kindly, hit and miss since arriving at Celtic Park. While few Celtic fans would shed tears if he left on loan to tear up the Championship, the former Dundee United man is the sort of easy-on-the-eye playmaker that Rodgers could get the best out of. Away from the pressures of the first team, the confidence player will likely dazzle his new manager enough in training to stick around until after the summer window shuts.
He is only included because of a rumour that went around a couple of weeks ago saying he was set to follow his former boss to Easter Road. Considering he’s banged in 91 goals across a five-and-a-half-year Celtic career, it’s a safe assumption that Commons is one of the highest earners at Parkhead. What’s Celtic’s motivation for letting him to go Hibs when the receiving club would only be able to cover a fraction of his wages? And while Commons would probably like to team up with Lennon again, considering how fruitful their partnership was before, he’d likely see it as a slap in the face to go on loan, especially to a lower level. At age 32, if he’s going anywhere it’s back down to England.
Hibs fans love him and the feeling appears to be mutual. The all-action midfielder played a huge part in the most memorable season in the club’s history and was a favourite of their new manager during Lennon’s final season at Celtic Park. If given the choice of going out on loan again, it’s hard to imagine Henderson wanting to go anywhere else in Scotland. What could scupper Hibs’ hopes is if Rodgers takes a shining to Henderson. After all, what’s not to like?
Championship Player of the Year during his time with Hibs, Allan has struggled for a regular place in the Celtic team since his move at the beginning of last season. Having been similarly frustrated while playing in England, it’s a move that may appeal to Allan as most of his happier memories in football to this point came in his one season at Easter Road. This affinity may see him return, even if no player wants to come back to a former side so soon after leaving for a bigger club.
This may sound like a completely left-field suggestion but it makes sense the more you think about it. Rodgers didn’t sign Ajer, Ronny Deila did. Even if he rates the Norwegian midfielder, at 18 years old and with a supposedly deep pot in which to fund Celtic’s route back into the Champions League it’s unlikely Rodgers will have the space available to grant the youngster much playing time in his first year. So what better way to get him accustomed to Scottish football than a loan move to a lower league club? A club who’ve proven themselves trustworthy with your young talent in the past and have excellent facilities for their level.
The best form of Forrest’s Celtic career came under Lennon - it was about five years ago, mind, but still, Lennon helped him become one of the country’s top prospect once upon a time. However, while a change of scenery is probably required in Forrest’s career, it should be remembered he rejected a new deal at Celtic (which expires in December, oddly enough). It’s unlikely he did so with eyes for the Ladbrokes Championship.
Nesbitt was originally billed as the next big thing coming out of the Celtic youth team. That was until Kieran Tierney emerged and became the most consistent teenage full back in football history (FACT, end of, etc). He was put out on loan to Partick Thistle in the second half of last season where he showed some flashes of real talent but, as is to be expected from most youth players whose initials aren’t KT, he also had some poor matches as well. Seeing as Thistle were battling against relegation, they couldn’t afford to let him play through his mistakes and he flitted in and out of the starting XI, making six appearances in total. Allowing the young attacking midfielder to drop down a level on a team expected to lead the division sounds like a better developmental strategy.