Kevin Nisbet has handed Hibernian a massive boost after indicating he is intent on putting pen to paper on a new contract at the club.
The striker’s eagerness to commit himself after initial discussions is perfectly timed ahead of their Premier Sports Cup quarter-final with Dundee United and comes just weeks after Martin Boyle agreed fresh terms.
Both are key players in Jack Ross’ side and have been repeatedly linked with moves away from Easter Road following impressive form last season and again in the new campaign. Nisbet, who Celtic were credited with an interest in, is said to have handed in a transfer request amidst bids from Birmingham City back in January, raising some doubts over his long-term future in the capital.
It was thought the 24-year-old could then be sold in the summer after being part of the Scotland squad at the Euro 2020 finals. However, despite harbouring ambitions to play in England in the future, Nisbet is adamant he is content in the capital for the time being.
“We are still in talks just now,” he said. “Speculation happens in every single window, but it was just speculation.
“I’m happy to stay at Hibs, we have something good going on here and I’m really happy to be a Hibs player. Hopefully the contract can get sorted soon.
“It helps settle your mind. It’s been going on for a long time. As soon as that gets sorted then I can look forward.”
Meanwhile, he may have left the club in 2018 but Nisbet is convinced John McGinn is still helping raise standards at Hibs as they bid to reach another cup semi-final.
Nisbet’s form has helped him become a Scotland fixture under Steve Clarke, playing in all three matches at the Euro 2020 finals and making his first start for his country in the 1-0 victory over Moldova earlier this month.
Those international get-togethers have been an eye-opener for the Hibs striker, who is determined not to look out of place amongst the nation’s top players converging from huge clubs in the English Premier League.
And he believes training regularly with the likes of former Hibs fans’ favourite McGinn, Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney is bringing out the best in him and can also help to lift the quality of his team-mates on his return to Easter Road.
He said: “When you train with players who have played in the Premier League then the tempo and intensity is a lot higher so the standard is higher too. You have to raise your own standards or you’ll stand out like a sore thumb.
“I think I’ve done that and brought it back to Hibs.
“Every time I go away with Scotland I come back a better player so hopefully if I continue to work hard I’ll keep getting in squads.
“It’s about setting a standard in training. If I do that then it will make others raise their game.
“That’s what happens with me at Scotland. Guys like John McGinn, Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney set a big standard. I need to raise my game to compete with them and that’s important at club level too.”