Danny Carmichael is closing in on a return to first-team action after coming through a 45-minute appearance for Hibs’ development team.
The midfielder was given his first outing since undergoing groin surgery in early December when he played the first half of yesterday’s 1-0 defeat by the Hamilton Accies youngsters at Ainslie Park.
Carmichael has started only two matches for Hibs’ first team and hasn’t featured at all since the start of October after being plagued by a groin problem ever since arriving from Queen of the South last summer.
Alan Stubbs hopes the recent surgery has resolved the issue once and for all, and expects the 25-year-old to start pushing for involvement in the coming weeks.
“He’s progressed really well since the operation,” the head coach said. “He’s training with the main group now and yesterday’s game was another step on his fitness programme. It’s been a frustrating time for Danny because he’d have rather been involved with the group more but he’s had a niggling groin injury that’s not really gone away and in the end we had to go down the operation route. Hopefully that’s him over it now.We’ll build up his game time in the 20s, but I’m fully expecting him to be part of my plans within the next few weeks.”
Hibs’ development team were defeated when former Hearts striker Christian Nade headed the only goal of the game for Hamilton early in the second half.
Accies, who moved joint top of the league with this victory, fielded a relatively experienced side compared to their hosts and started strongly. However, as the first half progressed, the hosts grew in to the game, with Carmichael at the heart of their best attacks.
Hibs striker Oli Shaw came close to the opener mid-way through the half when, after a scramble in the box, his half volley flew agonisingly wide and hit the side-netting.
Hamilton then went close to a breakthrough on 33 minutes when a corner kick from the right was met powerfully by Shaun Want. The defender’s volley had goalkeeper Sean Brennan beaten, but the ball cannoned off the crossbar.
Accies made a strong start to the second half and took the lead on 48 minutes when Nade headed home a pin-point cross from Christopher Mandiangu.
There were few chances after the break although Nade almost put the game to bed on 87 minutes when his glancing header from Ryan Tierney’s cross clipped the crossbar.
Hibs coach Joe McBride said: “I thought we did okay, if you look at the experience in their side and the youth in ours. We had a couple of half chances, but nothing more than that. Nobody likes getting beat, but it was a fantanstic experience for the boys.”
Hibs Development: Brennan; Donaldson, McGregor, Waugh, Dunsmore; Smith (Morgan), Scott, Sinclair (Murray), Watson; Carmichael (Campbell), Shaw.