Hibernian manager Jack Ross has said he might be interested in handing Leigh Griffiths an Easter Road return this summer, should he become available.
But the Leith boss admits he still has no idea whether the Celtic and Scotland striker will even be up for grabs.
The 30-year-old has cut a frustrated figure this season as the Hoops’ bid for 10-in-a-row crumbled.
Griffiths has struck just seven goals in 28 appearances for club and country this term, leaving both his future at Parkhead and a place in Steve Clarke’s Scotland Euro 2020 squad in doubt.
Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass is reportedly keen on offering him the chance to kick-start his career at Pittodrie, having also lured Celtic skipper Scott Brown north ahead of next season.
Now Ross has revealed he would be eager to offer Griffiths a third stint with his boyhood heroes following back-to-back loan spells between 2011 and 2013.
“First of all, he’s not as of yet a player that will be available,” said the cautious Hibs boss. “He’s still contracted to Celtic and there’s nothing to say he won’t be as things stand.
“I think it’s an easy connection to make because of his previous time at the club and his association with Hibs.
“Is he a player that we have admiration for? Of course, because his goalscoring record will be up there with the best in Scotland over recent years.
“It’s maybe something that should the opportunity arise, it would be something we’d discuss.
“But certainly at the minute it’s not something we’ve been able to discuss in any more detail because he’s not currently a player who is available.”
While Griffiths is now sweating on his Scotland place for this summer’s finals, Paul Hanlon hopes a prolonged run in the Scottish Cup could see him force his way into Clarke’s plans.
The 31-year-old centre-back won his one and only cap against the Czech Republic back in October.
But he was overlooked by the national team boss as the Scots kicked off their World Cup qualifiers last month.
However, he reckons helping Hibs return to Hampden might make Clarke reconsider.
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to play for my country,” said Hanlon ahead of Sunday’s last-16 trip to Stranraer. “Luckily enough with the form I’ve shown, it’s got me that this year.
“I was delighted to get that cap and know I am in and around the manager’s thoughts.
“But it’s really all about me performing well for Hibs and helping Hibs to be successful.
“That’s a big part of it too. Being part of a successful Hibs team will undoubtedly help my chances.
“So my main focus is to finish the season strongly, cement third place and see how far we can go in the cup, if that leads to anything else in terms of the international team then I’d be absolutely over the moon.
“But I know first and foremost I need to be doing it for Hibs.”
Meanwhile, Ross confirmed Jamie Murphy (hamstring) and Sean Mackie (thigh) will again be missing as his side travel to Stair Park.
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