Hibernian: John McGinn 'ready' to face Runavik despite Celtic speculation

John McGinn watches Hibs' first-leg win from the stands
John McGinn watched Hibs' first-leg win from the stands
Europa League first qualifying round second leg - Runavik v HIbs
Date: Thurs 19 July Venue: Svangaskard Stadium, Toftir, Faroe Islands Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Scotland Sport website & app.

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon says John McGinn is ready to play against Runavik in the second leg of the Europa League first round qualifier.

Speculation surrounds his future with Celtic already having two bids for the Scotland midfielder rejected.

McGinn missed the 6-1 first-leg win with a thigh strain and playing on Thursday would make him ineligible for Celtic's Champions League qualifiers.

"I've got to do what I think is best for Hibs at the minute," said Lennon.

"John's one of our best players and alright we're in a comfortable position [in the tie] at the minute, but he needs to play.

"He needs match fitness, he needs sharpness, so I've got to take all those things into consideration as well, regardless of events happening elsewhere."

Reports suggest Celtic will make a third bid for McGinn, 23, who has a year left remaining on his Hibs contract, but Lennon confirmed there have been no further offers for his prize asset.

"Not at the minute there hasn't been," he told BBC Scotland.

"It was a little bit unsettling for him, but I think he's focused again now and a lot more relaxed about things because it is a difficult position that a player finds himself in sometimes.

"But he's ready to play. He's come through the thigh problem he had last week and we'll see how he is tonight at training."

Murray departure 'good business'

Ryan Porteous looks likely to replace centre-back Paul Hanlon, who is nursing a knock and did not travel with the squad to the Faroes.

Hibernian's Simon Murray closes down Runavik's Bardur Hansen
Simon Murray has not travelled to the Faroe Islands ahead of an impending move to Bidvest Wits

"Ryan Porteous came through the game at the weekend unscathed, so he'll come into consideration and obviously the likes of [Marvin] Bartley didn't start last week and McGinn didn't play last week," Lennon said.

"We need some players up to speed and as strong as possible going into the upcoming games.

"I know from my own experience in pre-season, once you get your first game out of the way a week later you feel a lot better for it."

Striker Simon Murray also did not travel as he is close to finalising a move to South Africa club Bidvest Wits.

His appearance as a substitute in the first leg against Runavik last week appears to have been his last for the Easter Road club.

"The fee has been agreed and Simon's been away doing his medical," Lennon added.

"We think it's good business and obviously Simon found himself on the periphery of the squad, so he wants to go and play regular football and try a different environment and culture.

"We brought him in for free for the first half of last season and we feel it's a good move all round."

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