Hibernian’s Lennon wants to keep Efe Ambrose

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The Hibs boss has addressed speculation regarding the Nigeria international's future and says that he is keen for him to remain at Easter RoadThe Hibs

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon insists he wants to keep Efe Ambrose at the club.

The 28-year-old who joined the Easter Road outfit on a short term contract helped the team secure promotion to the Scottish topflight and reports have suggested talks are yet to begin over an extension.

Lennon was reluctant to discuss the ongoing contract negotiations involving him and the Nigerian, but stressed Ambrose is a player he wants to keep.

“That’s something we’re looking into,” Lennon told Edinburg Evening News.

 “He’s not our player, but if we get an opportunity to sit down with him next week and see what his plans are, then it’s something we will pursue. Obviously we’d have to speak to Efe, his representatives and Celtic as well.

“It’ll depend on his own personal circumstances. He’s just had a baby boy. Does he want to stay in Scotland? If so, there aren’t many better clubs outside Celtic than here.

''Does he see himself in England? If so, there are visa issues he’d have to consider. He’s a lot to think about over the next couple of months.”

However, Lennon is optimistic that the defender will remain at the club on a permanent basis after enduring a torrid spell at Celtic.

“It’s been a very good move personally for him and also for us,” he continued.

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“He’s back playing and showing the country what he’s capable of, the quality of player he is. He loves playing football and he’s playing big games again. He’s a great kid to have around the place – he’s a joy to work with.

“He knows what I demand because of the familiarity we have there [from their times together at Celtic] and I think he’s enjoyed being around the club. He’s certainly enjoyed the adulation that he’s got from the fans – that’s been in abundance.

 “I think he needed that because some of the outpourings of ridicule [at Celtic] were way over the top. He’s a class player. As I’ve said before, it’s no disgrace not playing regularly at Celtic at the minute because the bar’s been raised, but he’s still got a huge amount of quality and can play at a very high level in the game. Certainly in the eyes of the public here, Efe has shown what a quality player he is.”