HIBERNIAN owner Ronald Gordon has stressed the Easter Road club won’t be forced into selling prized assets like Josh Doig, Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous for cut-price fees this summer despite posting a £1.4m loss amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gordon, who rejected bids of £2.5m from Birmingham City for striker Nisbet and £1m for centre half Porteous in the January transfer window, admitted the Edinburgh outfit will not stand in the way of players moving on to a higher level.

The Peru-born businessman has been “excited” to see that former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is interested in taking teenage left back Doig to Premier League outfit Leicester City in the summer.

However, the US-based entrepreneur, who bought a controlling stake in Hibs for a seven figure sum back in 2019, will hold out for suitable compensation if offers are tabled for the defender or any of his team mates.   

“I think he (Doig) has been terrific,” he said. “I love him, I love his energy. He has tremendous attributes as a player. He’s got great speed and a terrific shot. In just one year of playing time he’s grown and matured, he’s more comfortable and confident. I think he’s a terrific young man and a great player.

“I’m excited Brendan Rodgers is interested in him.  We have to balance being a competitive team with also not getting in the way of progress. For a kid like Josh, the ability to play for a team like Leicester City is something we have to be behind and encourage.

“But there is a time for everyone. This is just his first year, so let’s wait and see. I’d hope he won’t go cheaply. I don’t think we should undersell our players. Josh is a great player, we are trying to be reasonable, but we don’t want to undersell our assets as a club.

“But we need to find the right balance of what’s good for the club and what’s good for Josh. We want this to be a player’s club. We want to do the right thing by them by having their careers in mind first and foremost.”

Gordon admitted that turning down significant sums for both Nisbet and Porteous, who have helped Hibs to move into third place in the Premiership and the brink of European qualification, at the start of the year had been difficult amid the challenging financial climate.

“It was a question of timing and valuation and about where the club was at the time,” he said. “They were not easy decisions. Both of them want to grow and compete at the highest level. I am 100 per cent sure they will have other opportunities.

“I think they both agreed. Kevin has come back and really contributed beautifully for the club. He’s a terrific player and it was fantastic for him he got his first cap for Scotland and another feather in the cap for Hibs. Hopefully he’ll continue to do well and be in a better position to move on when the time is right.

“It’s tricky finding that balance of being competitive and allowing the players the opportunity to move to a higher level of football. It takes a bit of finesse. But I wouldn’t consider us as just a selling club. We get an offer and we sell? I don’t think so. We have a mission to be as competitive as we can be.”

Asked if he thought Nisbet or Porteous could depart this summer, Gordon said: “That could be a possibility and to be honest it wouldn't surprise me. We are thinking about those possibilities and planning accordingly. I don't anticipate more than one, at the outside two, but I do think that one could have the opportunity to move this summer.”