Hibs head coach Jack Ross is ‘very hopeful’ of keeping Kevin Nisbet at the Scottish Premiership club, as he is offered a new contract amid Celtic speculation.

The striker has been linked with Celtic all summer, but Ross said last weekend that recent rumours alleging Nisbet was subject to a player plus cash deal were ‘a fabrication.’ Nisbet has netted 20 times since arriving from Dunfermline last summer and is now a Scotland international. Contract talks to keep him in Leith are underway.

Celtic v Hibernian - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Nisbet has been linked to Celtic. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ross said: “Because of speculation about his future last week, people believe we’ve just suddenly started speaking about a new contract but it’s something we’ve been speaking about for a number of weeks. The great thing was that Kevin and his representatives were positive about those discussions and it’s continued in that vein.

“It’s not concluded as yet. From a football point of view I’ve always argued a very strong case about how important he is for me on the pitch. The club have listened to that and have been very supportive. There’s nothing definitive but everything to date has been heading in the right direction.

“I speak about how big an asset he is to me but I think we’ve also provided a very good platform for him that’s helped produce his best football and culminated in him playing in a major tournament. I think all that’s been in our favour.

“I need Kevin to be here beyond the transfer window. I’m always loathe to say anything definitive about any player because things can change very quickly in football but there’s been no sign of him leaving so far and in terms of his importance to me for the direction the team’s going, he’s huge, so I’m very hopeful of keeping him.”

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