Hibs head coach Jack Ross says the need to keep players like Kevin Nisbet at Hibs is ‘more pressing,’ amid Christian Doidge’s Achilles injury and reported Celtic interest.

Speculation has persisted around several of Ross’ players this summer, with Nisbet believed to be a £4 million Celtic target. Hibs moved into the quarter-finals of the Premier Sports Cup with a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock on Sunday but news that striker Doidge would likely be out until 2022 was a ‘serious blow’ pre-match.

Doidge is out long-term. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Ross said of the Welsh striker: “It’s likely to be three or four months before he even returns to training. So it’s a serious blow for us because we don’t have a multitude of options – and for him as well. We’ll need to replace him – it’s an area we needed to strengthen before Christian’s injury but this heightens the need for reinforcements.

“He was back in contention for the Wales squad and that’s been a big driver for him. He’s been terrific for us and I’m so disappointed for him.”

Not only is Ross hunting a new attacking option – the club still keen to bring Orlando City attacker Chris Mueller’s pre-contract forward to this month – Hibs’ head coach wants to retain Nisbet. He has scored twice with two assists in six games since returning from Euro 2020 with Scotland, and Ross says it’s his goal to keep him in Leith.

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Nisbet has been linked with clubs like Celtic. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

He said: “Kevin hasn’t scored as many as the other forwards but his overall play has been terrific since the start of the season. He’s come back from the Euros and his game has gone up another level. His movement for the two goals was magnificent. Kevin’s in a good place at the moment and long may it continue.

“I don’t want to lose my best players and the need becomes more pressing in the forward areas because we don’t have a multitude of options. You wouldn’t want Christian’s injury to keep players here but it’s my job to make sure they’re here at the end of August.”

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