Danny Handling will be fit to face Celtic on Sunday after being crocked by a new pair of boots, boss Terry Butcher revealed today.
The 19-year-old was missing as Butcher named just six substitutes for last weekend’s defeat by St Mirren, but returned to action for Hibs Under-20s on Wednesday, scoring as the club went back top of the U-20s Premiership on goal difference with a 2-1 win over the Buddies in Paisley.
Now he is in line to face the runaway league leaders as Butcher strives to combat the loss of injured defenders Paul Hanlon and Ryan McGivern, while midfielder Scott Robertson is banned for this match after six bookings.
Butcher said: “Danny had a sac of fluid on his heel caused by a pair of new boots which are no longer with him – he’s thrown them in the bin. We had to let time take it’s effect on that particular area. Danny couldn’t get a boot or shoe on very easily. It was disappointing, but it was one of those things that happen.”
While Hanlon, who is battling a thigh strain, and McGivern, the victim of a hamstring problem which hit him only eight minutes into the Saints match, are definitely out for the visit of Celtic, Butcher is confident both will be ready for the Scottish Cup tie against Championship outfit Raith Rovers in a fortnight’s time, while Robertson will also be free of suspension.
He said: “Paul is probably the better of the two, but we have a two-week gap after the Celtic game, so hopefully both will get over their injuries and be ready for the Raith match. It’s a blow for us. We will have to rejig things but it gives others an opportunity.”
Having condemned his players’ “wretched” first-half display against St Mirren, Butcher feels he’s had a positive response in training this week. He said: “We got an immediate reaction in the second half of the game but we had a discussion on Monday and then went training to give the players a chance to get it out of their system, which they have done.
“Training this week has been excellent. It’s been the highest tempo for some time. Because of what happened in the first half against St Mirren, not because it’s Celtic on Sunday, the players are keen to get back out there to play. They want to show we are a good team, that they are good players and just because we have had a poor half-an-hour in one match doesn’t make us a poor team.”