Dundee boss Hartley admits fight to keep star player

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Dundee boss Paul Hartley has admitted he has a fight on his hands to keep club star Greg Stewart at Dens Park beyond the summer.

Stewart netted twice in a sterling personal performance during the weekend’s 5-2 hammering over Ross County, producing the latest in a string of fine displays for the Dark Blues.

Such performances may be starting to catch the eye of rival teams however, and Hartley isn’t sure if he can hang on to his man, who will be entering the final year of his contract next term.

Speaking of the Stewart predicament, Hartley said: “He’s a player that we want to keep but going into the last year of his contract we can’t stop the speculation.”

“He’s somebody we would like to tie down but the lad’s got ambitions also. He’s a player that we love having here,” Hartley added.

Hartley clarified that no concrete interest or bids have come in for Stewart, who signed from part-time football at Cowdenbeath two seasons ago, proved more than capable of playing in the top tier.

“The way he has performed since he came here, he has shown his quality. He wasn’t just a one-season wonder.

“Do we want to keep him? Of course we want to keep him. Can we keep him? That’s another scenario,” Hartley said.

Stewart’s brace at the weekend took him to 26 in under two seasons at Dens Park, with his second goal impressing his boss greatly.

“I watched that second goal again and it was absolutely outstanding. When he’s playing well he’s such a joy to watch. He’s been excellent for us this year in terms of assists and goals, he’s great to watch at times.”

“He’s been an excellent signing for us,” Hartley added. “Somebody who’s not a number nine, somebody who plays off the front or off the side in a free role. His goal return is fantastic in terms of the games he’s played in.”

Hartley will be hoping Stewart can produce the goods again tonight when Celtic visit Dens Park.

The hosts are 13/2 for victory, while their star man is 10/1 to net the opener and 7/2 to score anytime.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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