Neil McCann insists he doesn’t want unwilling players at Dundee

Scott Allan said he wanted to go back to Hibs. Picture: SNS.
Scott Allan said he wanted to go back to Hibs. Picture: SNS.
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Dundee manager Neil McCann has revealed he allowed Scott Allan to switch clubs because the midfielder was determined to return to Hibs.

Allan, on a season-long loan at Dundee from Celtic, was believed to be a makeweight in a complicated three-way arrangement in which defender Jack Hendry joined Celtic from Dundee along with keeper Scott Bain, whose loan deal with Hibs was cancelled.

Allan only started 12 of the 23 games in which he featured for Dundee. His last appearance was against Inverness in the Scottish Cup on Tuesday night, when he scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory. The next morning Allan told Dundee he wanted to go to Hibs, having been alerted to their interest.

“Scott Allan wanted to go,” explained McCann. “He heard Hibs were interested and he asked to go. As talented as Scott is, I do not want players at my club that do not want to play for my club. He is a great boy, a fantastic footballer. I have a lot of time for him. But when he suggested he wanted to go, then that was it.”

Dundee’s dismay at the Hendry deal taking until close to Wednesday’s midnight transfer deadline to be confirmed was compounded yesterday. Julen Etxabeguren, expected to replace Hendry in the team to face Ross County tomorrow, is understood to have suffered a serious injury in training. It’s feared he could be out for the rest of the season.

McCann did not enjoy his first January transfer window as a manager. “It was a horrible day yesterday,” he said.

But he was cheered by his success in agreeing a loan deal to bring Hibs striker Simon Murray to Dens. The former Dundee United striker grew up a Dundee fan.

“We needed someone like Simon Murray,” said McCann. “He has 14 goals this season, and cut him open he bleeds dark blue. He is a Dundee fan and his work rate is unquestionable anyway. He is always a threat whoever he plays against now. I am so excited.”

McCann was frustrated in his attempts to sign a replacement for Hendry. Negotiations went close to the wire and meant Dundee could not use a portion of the club record fee received from Celtic to sign a replacement. But the Dens Park club are welcoming an out-of-contract defender from England on trial today.

“If I was to lose one of my best players then I was prepared to try to get the very best deal for the club,” said McCann. “I didn’t realise that would take me to five minutes before midnight. If it was not right financially I would have walked away from the deal. I would much rather have Jack 
Hendry now.”