Hibs kid Danny Handling has suffered the heartbreak of being forced to pull out of Scotland’s Under-21 squad just days after being called up by boss Billy Stark for the first time.
The 19-year-old had admitted to being delighted to be included in Stark’s squad for Thursday night’s European Championship qualifying match against the Netherlands in Nijmegen, revealing he was looking forward to a return to the country where he scored his first two Hibs goals against a Zeeland select a year ago and two more against Brazilian side Crusero in Den Haag’s summer youth tournament.
But the youngster picked up a foot injury during Hibs’ no-scoring draw with Ross County at the weekend and was replaced by fellow teenager Sam Stanton for the final eight minutes. Handling’s foot was immediately packed in ice and although Hibs boss Pat Fenlon expressed the hope it wasn’t a serious knock, it’s proved bad enough to force his withdrawal. Partick Thistle midfielder Stuart Bannigan also pulled out, resulting in Stark drafting in Carlisle United forward Mark Beck and Celtic youngster John Herron.
Meanwhile, Hibs skipper James McPake and defender Tim Clancy were expected to take a step closer to a first-team return by playing in a bounce game against Rangers in Glasgow today, the match hastily arranged after an Under-20 fixture between the clubs was postponed due to the number of Ibrox youngsters on international duty. And provided there are no further problems the pair, along with French signing Abdellah Zoubir, could feature in Hibs’ East of Scotland clash against Berwick Rangers Reserves at Shielfield on Saturday.
• Hibs’ Scottish Premiership match against champions Celtic at Easter Road on Saturday, October 19, will now kick off at 12.30pm and will be screened live on BT Sport.