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Serious negotiations begin for Celtic target

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Celtic and Hibs are now locked in a game of poker- with John McGinn and St Mirren locked in the outside.

Yesterday Neil Lennon confirmed that the Edinburgh side had rejected a second bid for the midfielder, believed to be of around £2m.

For a player with just under a year left on his contract it seems a fair offer but down the years Rod Petrie has earned a reputation for getting his pound of flesh.

A decade ago he pulled in £6m for the largely untested duo of Kevin Thompson and Scott Brown, soon afterwards Celtic backed off from paying £2m for Steven Fletcher with Burnley writing a cheque for that amount to sign the striker.

Celtic will remember those negotiations but are in no rush to sign McGinn, he’s not going to make the difference between winning and losing the SPFL title.

Nor will he turn Celtic into Champions League contenders.

What the 23-year-old does have is plenty of domestic experience and according to Brendan Rodgers the ability to step up a level.

Much like Stuart Armstrong in January 2015.

It cost Celtic £1.8m to secure Armstrong from Dundee United, three years later with experience of the Champions League and Europa League he was sold as an international to Southampton for £7m.

Part of Hibs reluctance to do business is the sell on clause that St Mirren have for McGinn, believed to be for one third of a future transfer fee.

That clause will bring in more money to the Paisley side than they received for selling Lewis Morgan to Celtic in January.

McGinn could become a Celt for life, like Brown, but Hibs can protect themselves against any future re-sale.

Getting Scott Allan thrown into the deal and a 20% slice of any future transfer fee could make a £2m transfer fee more acceptable to Hibs.

If Petrie doesn’t bite at that offer he could miss out entirely as Celtic hold fire until January with a pre-contract agreement that won’t really suit anyone.

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