Hibs’ play-off hopes are set to be given a boost by the return to action of influential midfielder Kevin Thomson as Easter Road chairman Rod Petrie urged fans, furious at the club’s plunge to 11th place in the Scottish Premiership table, to exercise patience.
Thomson missed the last two games of Hibs’ regular season, the defeats by Ross County and Kilmarnock, having picked up a thigh injury as Terry Butcher’s side snatched a last-gasp draw against Partick Thistle.
The Evening News understands the 29-year-old was “touch and go” for the visit of Killie, but the decision was made not to risk him given he could then well be ruled out of the play-off against either Hamilton or Falkirk should, as has happened, that scenario transpire.
But with the first of those matches still more than a week away – it will take place either at New Douglas Park or the Falkirk Stadium next Wednesday – Thomson is confident of being totally fit to play his part in helping Hibs avoid the ignominy of relegation.
Thomson, pictured, was in the stand to watch Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd’s 22nd goal of a season in which Hibs scored just 31 in their 38 league games, leaving the Edinburgh club in deep trouble. The latest defeat, which left them with just one point from their last nine games, prompted an after-match protest in which angry supporters demanded that both Petrie and manager Terry Butcher should go.
While Butcher remains confident Hibs will “rectify the wrongs” of the previous 38 games in the double-header, Petrie’s response to the after-match demo was posted on the club’s website, a promise that the “wind of change will blow through the club”.
Leeann Dempster, chief executive of Motherwell, will take day-to-day charge of Hibs from the beginning of next month.
The chairman said: “We are sorry not to have achieved better results. In ten days we have a play-off to win over two legs. The players and the manager need your support to make sure we take care of business on the field and finally put this season behind us. I have to ask for your patience and for your support both on and off the pitch.
“2014 will be a year of change. The day-to-day responsibility for running the club will pass to Leeann – a change which has been universally welcomed by supporters. There are other changes in the pipeline, too, which will see further radical change at your club both in the way that it organises itself and in the way it engages with the Hibernian Family and the wider community.
“Throughout the summer and into the start of next season the wind of change will blow through the club to enrich and reinvigorate it for the benefit of every supporter.”