Hibs are set to receive a double boost ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup final, with both skipper James McPake and Tim Clancy ready to rejoin Pat Fenlon’s squad in training tomorrow.
Fears that the defensive duo could miss the Hampden showdown with SPL champions Celtic grew by the day as they missed the Easter Road outfit’s final three league matches as McPake nursed a back problem and Clancy the groin and stomach injury which has plagued him for months.
Fenlon was so worried about Clancy, who has revealed he may need further surgery during he close season, he had signalled a couple of weeks ago that the former Kilmarnock and Motherwell’s star’s season could be over.
Now, though, Clancy and McPake look certain to add to Fenlon’s selection headache as the manager draws up his starting XI and the five who will sit on the bench, provided they can prove they have won their respective fitness battles.
Fenlon said: “Tim and James did a little bit on Friday, with Tim doing a little bit more than James. Hopefully, James can come straight back into training tomorrow morning. That’s the plan, to get him in to the warm-up and see how he is and take it from there. For both him and Tim, it’s a case of wait and see, but if they are in any way doubtful then we won’t risk them.
“If they are fit and show their fitness then I have to make a decision.”
Fenlon also disclosed that Kevin Thomson was rested as Hibs completed their SPL season with a third successive win in just six days, David Wotherspoon’s stunning late header giving them a 1-0 victory over relegated Dundee which clinched a seventh-place finish for the Capital club following their earlier triumphs against Hearts and Kilmarnock.
The Hibs manager insisted his side’s hectic schedule had been behind the experienced midfielder’s absence. He said: “Our plan was to play him in a game-and-a-half or a game and 60 minutes. He did that so we left him out to give him a break.”
Fenlon’s players were enjoying a day off today before beginning to prepare for their second successive Scottish Cup final, acknowledging the fact that with the game being played on a Sunday made this a “long week.”
Meanwhile, top scorer Leigh Griffiths has picked up yet
another accolade having been named the Scottish Football Writers’ Association player of the year.