SHAUN Maloney has stressed he will have no qualms about playing Martin Boyle when Hibernian face Celtic in the cinch Premiership at Parkhead on Monday night despite ongoing uncertainty about the winger’s future.

Boyle has been attracting interest during the January transfer window and was reported to be unhappy that a bid from Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia – which would have seen him earn £1m a year in wages if it had been accepted - was turned down by the Easter Road hierarchy.

Maloney yesterday dismissed those suggestions, revealed he had spoken to the Australian internationalist about his personal situation and stated he is confident the player is completely focused on performing well for Hibs.

However, the former Belgium assistant manager admitted the 28-year-old, who was linked with Celtic earlier this month, could move on if an offer comes in which meets the capital outfit’s valuation of him in the next fortnight. 

“I’ve definitely had a few conversations with Martin in person over the last few days,” he said. “I don’t really have any concerns about it unsettling him.

“Martin and I are really clear on the situation. As long as he and I have real clarity on where we are there will be no issues. He was very, very good in training today. He really took on board some of the messages we were trying to get across. As long as we have that clarity and we communicate, I don’t see any issues really.”

Maloney added: “I think we have  to be aware that the situation might change. If that happens, you just have to adapt to it. At the moment, there isn’t a decision to be made. The club have a valuation. And until that valuation is met, we are not at a moment where we have to make a decision.

“But Martin and I are really clear. That’s probably the best part. As long as that stays the same, and we communicate almost every day, like I do with each player, then I don’t really see any issue, no matter what comes in the next days or weeks. 

“It’s just something that all players now have to deal with. The amount of media and interest that comes now with the windows being open, I think players are pretty experienced now in having to deal with that.  

“I have to listen to Martin. He needs to let me know how he’s feeling and any concerns he has, and then we can both come to a decision. That always has to be the case.” 

Asked if Boyle had been upset at the Al-Faisaly bid being turned down, Maloney said: “No. Any conversation I have had with Martin has been the opposite. It’s been very calm as usual.  The conversations we have had have not been any different.

“The subject might be more important in terms of the interest in him, but there has been no anger on either side really. We can speak really openly. Martin is going through this, we have discussed it, we have clarity on it.

“He knows the situation and, at the moment, there isn’t a decision that needs to be made. At the moment, it is pretty easy, we focus on Celtic on Monday.”

Maloney expects to name Boyle in his starting line-up when Hibs play their first game of the year against his former club at Parkhead. He said: “Martin is the same as everyone else in the squad - available for selection. I make that decision closer to the game.”

The former Scotland internationalist, who has brought in Chris Mueller, Ewan Henderson, Elias Melkersen, Harry Clarke and Rocky Bushiri, stressed that Hibs would not be making any more January signings.

“I’m really happy with the squad we have,” he said. “I have to be grateful that the club, the CEO and the owner have got that business done as quickly as they have. It actually allowed me to work with these players on the pitch. Very happy just now.”

Maloney won eight major honours in the Scottish game and played in the 2003 UEFA Cup final during the two spells that he spent as a player at Celtic and is looking forward to returning to Parkhead for the first time as Hibs manager.   

The 38-year-old has overseen victories over Aberdeen and Dundee United since succeeding Jack Ross last month and is confident that Hibs can record their first triumph in the East End of Glasgow since 2010 and make it a hat-trick of wins.

“I certainly believe we can end that wait,” he said. “It’s a great challenge, we have had big wins so far against Dundee United and Aberdeen. I’m looking forward to seeing how we perform under the intense pressure of how Celtic play and also the full house. We have to believe we can win the game.”

Maloney added: “Personally, it will be absolutely fine. I spent many great years there, learned under some great managers and coaches and got very close with some of the ex-players who have done amazing things in their history. But the last few days I’ve been focused on preparing my team for a football match, that has to be the focus.

“It’s important for everyone that the stadium will be full. It’s positive for the players - mine and Celtic’s - but more so for the fans actually getting back in to watch their team. It’s really positive we’re getting back to that.”