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Hibernian boss Lee Johnson hints at move for Aiden McGeady

Lee Johnson (left) and Aiden McGeady (Mike Egerton/PA)
Lee Johnson (left) and Aiden McGeady (Mike Egerton/PA)

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson has refused to rule out a move for “inspirational” veteran Aiden McGeady.

The pair worked together at Sunderland as recently as last season and the 36-year-old former Republic of Ireland attacker – a free agent following his departure from the Stadium of Light this summer – has been linked with the Easter Road club.

Recently-appointed Hibs boss Johnson hinted that he would be keen to bring McGeady, who began his career with Celtic, back to Scotland.

“I’ve got a strong relationship with Aiden McGeady,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s a fantastic player with unbelievable feet. When he gets to the corner of the box, often there’s an assist or a shot at goal.

“He’s 36 years old so whether it’s us or somewhere else, he’s got nothing to prove but a lot to prove as well. He’s a maverick. He’s a challenging but inspiring character to have in any squad. Whoever gets Aiden McGeady moving forward – certainly for a year or two – will have an exceptional player and person.”

The cinch Premiership fixtures were announced on Thursday morning and Johnson learned that his first home league game in charge of Hibs will be against city rivals Hearts, with whom he had a short stint as a player in 2006.

“You couldn’t get a better first home game in charge in the league,” said the former Oldham, Barnsley, Bristol City and Sunderland boss. “It’s a really big derby. I was lucky enough to play in it. It was one of the main reasons I wanted to come up, to experience that.

“My managerial derbies so far haven’t been exceptional. I missed the Bristol derby. I didn’t get Newcastle-Sunderland, so Oldham-Rochdale has probably been the best so far. This one is going to be a big game and I’m really looking forward to it but it’s not about me, it’s about the fans and getting off to a good start.”

Meanwhile, Harry Clarke’s time at Hibs has been cut short after parent club Arsenal activated a summer break clause in his loan agreement.

The versatile 21-year-old moved to Easter Road in January on an 18-month loan but after making just eight appearances during an injury-disrupted stint with the Edinburgh club, he has been recalled by the Gunners amid reported interest from Stoke in signing him.

“We thank Harry for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future,” Hibs said on their website.