Hibs star Scott Robertson was today facing a fitness test as he bids to play against Partick Thistle tomorrow in new boss Terry Butcher’s first game at Easter Road.
The midfielder was forced out of the action with a hamstring problem last weekend as the Capital club enjoyed a first-ever victory over Ross County at the seventh time of asking to claim their place in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.
Robertson was sent for a scan with Butcher hoping it would prove to be no more than a precautionary move. Today, though, Butcher revealed the former Dundee, Dundee United and Blackpool player was “getting there”, before adding: “We’ll give him a chance and see what he is like.”
While Robertson has formed a promising partnership in central midfield with new skipper Liam Craig, the pair having been moved in off the flanks by Butcher, the manager insisted he had plenty of options should he be forced into making a change.
Owain Tudur Jones took over from Robertson for the final 23 minutes in Dingwall while Tom Taiwo also stepped from the bench as he had done the previous week against St Mirren while Kevin Thomson is back in the squad having missed the trip to Victoria Park with a hip problem.
Butcher said: “We have alternatives and everyone is itching to play. If someone gets that chance then they have to take it.” Winger Paul Cairney will also be available, the suspension attached to his red card against Ross County applying to the next round of the Cup when Hibs entertain Raith Rovers in early February while Butcher himself will be in the home dugout, the SFA hearing into his appeal against a touchline ban not taking place until a week on Tuesday.
Butcher said he was delighted at the prospect of his first match in charge at Easter Road, three-and-a-half weeks after being named as Pat Fenlon’s successor. He said: “It’s been a while coming and I’m looking forward to it very much.
“It will be nice for Maurice [Malpas, his assistant] and Stevie [Marsella, his goalkeeping coach] to be in a different dugout than we have been. But it is not about us, it is all about the players. The Hibs supporters have been fantastic to me.”
Meanwhile, Hibs’ match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie will now take place on Friday, January 10 (kick-off 7.45pm) and the visit of Celtic has been switched to Sunday, January 26 (kick-off 12.45pm).