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‘BELT UP, BROONY,’ SAYS LENNY

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CELTIC midfielder Scott has been told to belt up by Hibs boss Neil Lennon.

The Easter Road gaffer wants his former Hoops skipper to stop talking about John McGinn, the subject of two failed bids from the champions last week.

Brown, who quit the Edinburgh club for Parkhead 11 years ago in a £4.4million record deal, has spoken openly at how highly he rates the 23-year-old Scotland international, as reported in CQN yesterday.

The champions’ onfield leader insisted it would be a “great move” for the combative Hibs ace, who will be out of contract next summer and will be free to talk to interested clubs in January.

Lennon, who has revealed he will play McGinn in tonight’s Europa League match against NSI Runavik in the Faroe Islands, claimed Brown had been “presumptuous” in what he had said.

The Irishman remarked: “I don’t know the context of the interview and the atmosphere of the interview, and I’m aware that John is admired by a lot of people in the Scottish game, but it’s a bit early for that sort of talk.

“I would prefer it if – regardless of what club John may go to – the players at that club wait until he actually arrives. Then they can talk about him as much as they want.

“I think managers talking about players at other clubs is definitely breaking a code, but perhaps Scott was just asked a question and gave an honest answer. However, we as a club would prefer it if a deal was concluded before players talk like that.”

Lennon conceded that with his background – McGinn’s grandfather Jack is a former Celtic chairman – the Glasgow outfit may be the player’s favoured destination although English clubs have been monitoring the situation.

He added: “There are other suitors out there, but the only concrete offers we have had came from Celtic. You would need to ask John if his preferred choice is Celtic. However, there is still a long way to go before anything is finalised.”

McGinn watched from the stand last week as his team-mates trounced the part-timers from the Faroes 6-1 to clinch their place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League against Greek side Asteras Tripolis.

The reason given was a “dead leg” which had required heavy strapping although Lennon also conceded the transfer speculation had been a distraction.

An appearance by McGinn this evening would mean he would be Cup-tied for Celtic’s Champions League qualifiers.

 
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