Lee Johnson admits Hibernian will miss Ryan Porteous after the defender sealed a move to Championship side Watford.
The Easter Road club will receive a six-figure fee – understood to be up to £500,000 – for the Scotland international who came through the youth ranks at Hibs, with a sell-on clause inserted into the deal.
Watford revealed the 23-year-old centre-back had signed a four-and-a-half-year contract.
Johnson did receive some good news on Friday when striker Kevin Nisbet declined a move to Millwall after meeting with the Championship club but he will now have to do without ‘Porto’ Porteous for the cinch Premiership visit of Aberdeen on Saturday, and beyond.
The Hibs boss said: “Porto is a great example of how players from our excellent academy can progress into the first team and make a real difference.
“He has a strong will to win, and we will miss him. I have no doubt that he will go on and have a really successful career. We wish him all the best at Watford.”
Porteous made his debut in 2017 in the League Cup group stages against Montrose and last season he helped the club reach the League Cup final and ended the campaign being named Hibs’ Young Player of the Season.
Porteous made 157 appearances for Hibs, scoring 13 goals, and earned his first cap for Scotland last season against Ukraine.
Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell said: “Ryan has been a fantastic servant for the club and has been brilliant to deal with over the last few months.
“When it became clear he wanted to explore his options, we have worked hard to get the best deal for us, but also kept an eye on what is the best move for Ryan to propel his career.
“We’d like to wish him all the best for the future and thank him for his commitment and professionalism.”
Johnson confirmed earlier on Friday that Nisbet was down south to discuss his transfer to the London outfit.
The PA news agency understands Hibs had accepted a bid of £2.3million which includes add-ons for Nisbet.
However, a statement issued to PA from Nisbet’s representatives, Quanic Sports, read: “Kevin has taken time to consider this opportunity but remains unsure about making the move at this time. He’s happy to focus on Hibs for the time being.”