Hibernian sporting director addresses Kevin Nisbet valuation amid Celtic speculation

By Euan Davidson

July 20, 2021

Celtic and other suitors for Hibernian striker Kevin Nisbet have been warned to pay up by Hibs Sporting Director Graeme Mathie.

Mathie, who worked under former Celtic scouting chief John Park, was appointed Sporting Director in 2019 [BBC]. Since then, he’s helped manager Jack Ross build a top-3 Premiership squad. Additionally, he’s seen talented players, like Nisbet, Doig and Ryan Porteous come through the youth ranks.

With all three now established as promising Scottish talents, the links are inevitable. In early July, a report in the Daily Mail claimed that Celtic were after the Scotland striker [Daily Mail]. Meanwhile, Sky Sports attributed Celtic with interest in left-back Josh Doig in January.

Hibs are holding firm, though. Speaking to the Athletic, Graeme Mathie said:

“It’s a bit of a personal crusade but I’d love to break the club’s transfer record.

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“With the Brexit market as it is, we should be getting more money for Scottish players.

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“I have had some robust conversations where I’ve said, ‘If you take the player at our club and make them Belgian or Dutch or Swedish, we’re not talking about the same number (transfer fee)’. Our league is competitive, our club competed in the top end of it and played in national semi-finals and finals last year. At some point, people need to recognise that.”

Celtic have signed plenty of Hibs players in the past, but Kevin Nisbet won’t come cheap

There’s a pretty rich history of Celtic signing Hibernian talents. In recent years, Scott Allan, Leigh Griffiths and Anthony Stokes have all made the move. In years prior, Didier Agathe, Ulrik Laursen, Derek Riordan, Chris Killen and more chose a path down the M8.

So, it seems inevitable that when a talented Hibs player makes a mark domestically, Celtic will be keeping an eye out.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, Mathie is convinced – and rightly so – that Scottish players are undervalued in the current market, as they have been for a long time. It’s not just nationality, it’s players based in Scotland more broadly. They tend to depart the SPFL for less than they really ought to.

So, weird as it is to commend the Sporting Director of another club, but fair play. It’s his wont to get the best value for his players. But will that put Celtic off signing Kevin Nisbet?

The transfer of Kyogo Furuhashi, and continued uncertainty over Odsonne Edouard, have quietened down speculation over the Scotland striker. Given his goalscoring antics over the last few seasons, and his regular snaps with Bhoys stars, you’d have thought Celtic might be more proactive in acquiring Nisbet if they really wanted to.

However, as is always the case, nothing is simple with the Bhoys. They can know this for sure, though; if they want Kevin Nisbet, they’ll have to pay top dollar.

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