Hibs midfielder Sam Stanton has been ruled out of action after contracting mumps, boss Alan Stubbs revealed today.
The 20-year-old was on the bench at Ibrox as the Capital club defeated Rangers for the third game in succession last weekend but hasn’t been fit enough to join his team-mates at their East Mains training centre this week. Confirming Stanton was out of his plans for today’s Championship match against Dumbarton at Easter Road, Stubbs said: “Sam has been diagnosed with mumps.”
Stanton’s absence will further cut the head coach’s options in the middle of the park for the game with club skipper Liam Craig, also an unused substitute against Rangers, suspended after picking up his sixth booking of the season in the dying seconds of the 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers a fortnight ago.
But, with latest signing Fraser Fyvie and Danny Handling at his disposal alongside teenager Scott Martin, Stubbs will feel he has plenty of cover for a clash which he has warned his players they must approach with the same attitude they did in the match in Govan.
He said: “It’s an opportunity for someone else. That’s why we have a strong squad, competition for places is very healthy at this moment. January was an opportunity for us to really enhance the squad we had. Our policy is always quality over quantity and I feel we have done that. The ones we have brought in have added an edge in training, the tempo is very good and the lads are really buzzing. You can see a real hunger and desire amongst the group to succeed and do well.”
A goalless encounter with Dumbarton in October was one of a series of home draws which have deprived Hibs of precious points this season but Stubbs was confident of a better outcome this time around provided his players apply themselves in the same manner they did the 90 minutes at Ibrox.
He said: “It does not make any difference whether we are playing Rangers or the teams near the bottom of the table, the mentality has to be the same. We are getting into that stage of the season where it’s all about results and, in order, to keep getting results you have to keep up performances. That’s what we will keep striving to do. The emphasis wil be on that all the time. We are at home, we know our fans will get right behind us, which will be a boost for the players, and we know we have to get on the ball, be brave and make things happen.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have announced that season ticket holders can buy briefs for the Scottish Cup quarter-final against Berwick Rangers for only £10. Tickets for the televised tie on Sunday, March 8, go on sale on Monday, priced £15 (concessions £5), but season ticket holders who claim their seat and buy before midnight on March 1 will be entitled to do so at the lower price.