Hibs boss Alan Stubbs today revealed he hopes top scorer Jason Cummings will be fit to face Raith Rovers on Saturday despite the striker pulling out of his first Scotland Under-21 squad because of a knee injury.
The 19-year-old, who picked up the knock after scoring his 15th goal of the season against Cowdenbeath, was called up for Thursday’s friendly in Hungary but returned to Easter Road after the SFA’s medical team agreed the injury, which forced him to miss Sunday’s defeat by Rangers, meant there was no point in him travelling.
Cummings, who suffered a serious knee injury which saw him released by Hearts earlier in his career, has been sent for a scan, a precautionary move, according to Stubbs, to ease the youngster’s worries.
The head coach said: “Hopefully the scan will confirm what we think, that it isn’t anything too serious. I think there’s a natural reaction when you have had a previous injury as Jason has had and then taken a knock on it. Hopefully, this will allay the fears for him.
“Jason went over to join the Scotland squad on Sunday night and to let their medical staff assess things. They decided the best thing was for him to stay behind.”
Stubbs is aware that some eyebrows might be raised if Cummings features at Stark’s Park barely 48 hours after Danny Lennon’s side have been in action but he said: “We are not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Jason has a genuine injury. They’ve checked him over and are fully in agreement with our diagnosis, everyone is saying the same thing and everyone is happy with the situation.
“Jason could have travelled but he may not have played in the game. Would that have been in his best interests? The answer would probably be ‘no.’ Flying could also hinder the injury but he can stay here and have more treatment from our own physio John Porteous.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs has pencilled striker Farid El Alagui in for his first full 90 minutes of action in almost seven months in tonight’s Development Squad match against Celtic at Spartans’ Ainslie Park (kick-off 7.15pm).
The former Falkirk hitman has been out since rupturing his achilles tendon at Alloa’s Indodrill Stadium at the end of August. After undergoing an operation and rehabilitation, he’s featured for 45 and 60 minutes in two matches for Joe McBride’s side. Stubbs said: “Farid is getting closer with each game but we have to make sure he is as close to 100 per cent when he comes back, that he feels good in himself and doesn’t get too frustrated. He’s been out a long time and we don’t want to rush him but we are looking to really step up his minutes on the pitch. He probably needs a couple of ninety minutes but we’re looking forward to having him back as we are, hopefully, going to have some big games coming up.”