Hibs boss Terry Butcher admitted that throwing Scott Robertson into the derby after almost four months out of action was a gamble but one that will pay off in the battle to avoid the relegation play-off spot.
Midfielder Robertson hadn’t played for the first team since damaging his medial knee ligaments in an under-20 clash with Hearts in early February, a game he only played in to top up his match fitness following a three-week absence from the top team.
Butcher decided to risk the 29-year-old by pitching him straight back into the white-hot cauldron of the Edinburgh derby instead of giving him another run-out with the kids. And although his side lost to Hearts, Butcher believes the 66 minutes Robertson played will stand him in good stead for the final three games of the season.
Butcher said: “It was a big gamble and you could see after an hour he was tiring. But it will do him a lot of good and make him more confident going into this weekend’s match with Partick Thistle. It was good to get him back into the team because he wins the ball and then gets forward and gets on the end of crosses.
“I thought it was a good little combination with him and Kevin Thomson in the middle of the park, the team shape was very good.”
Butcher also revealed he’d taken something of a gamble in playing Jason Cummings as a lone striker and although the 18-year-old, a prolific scorer at under-20 level, was again left waiting for his first top-flight goal, the manager was delighted with his contribution.
Hinting Cummings will again lead the line against the Jags, Butcher said: “It was a little bit of a gamble playing him up front on his own but I thought he was tremendous.”