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Football: Mogga joy as trio sign new Hibee deals; CZAR IN THE MAKING GAZ TALKS TO THE RECORD.

HIBS manager Tony Mowbray was celebrating last night after tying up Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Ivan Sproule on long-term deals.

Brown and Sproule have agreed to stay at the club until 2009 while Thomson has signed until 2010.

But Mowbray insists that the deals had not been funded by the pounds 1.6million the club received from Garry O'Connor's move to Lokomotiv Moscow.

And the Hibs boss hinted that more of his stars could be set to put pen to paper on extended deals.

Mogga said: "This announcement had nothing to do with the Garry O'Connor money coming into the club.

"Extended deals for these three players would have been clinched regardless of Garry moving.

"In fact, had Garry not moved to Moscow we might have had a fourth player signing anew extended deal.

"There is more work to do and the funds for the O'Connor deal have been earmarked for other things but other announcements will be made as and when we have something to say."

Mowbray could not contain his delight that the three lynchpins of the side had committed their immediate future to the capital men.

He said: "Everyone at the club is delighted that Scott, Kevin and Ivan have signed new deals. "It's good that they all see Easter Road as the right place for their continued development.

"I would never stand in the players' way of moving on to bigger and better things and I have to accept that clubs will come and watch our team.

"We will just have to wait and see if that puts an end to constant speculation linking the three players that have signed the deals with a move away from Hibs."

Meanwhile, midfielder Brown will step up his training schedule after scans revealed his broken leg is healing well.

It has been four weeks since Brown suffered a broken fibula in the 3-0 defeat of Rangers at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup.

Mowbray refused to name a comeback date for the youngster but insists he is on schedule.

He said: "Scott is progressing very well. But I do not want to heap any unnecessary pressure on him by naming a specific date for his return."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 10, 2006
Words:367
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