Paul Cairney set to up his Hibee comeback bid

Paul Cairney. Picture: SNS

Paul Cairney. Picture: SNS

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Hibs star Paul Cairney will tonight continue his comeback from a serious ankle injury as he plays his second match in four days.

The midfielder hasn’t featured for Pat Fenlon’s first team at all this season having landed awkwardly on his right ankle just minutes before the end of the final training session ahead of the second leg of the Easter Road outfit’s Europa League tie against Swedish side Malmo.

But the former Partick Thistle player returned as Hibs’ East of Scotland side defeated Duns 2-1 at the weekend to make it six wins out of six to go nine points clear at the top of the table.

Cairney played the full 90 minutes and, having suffered no reaction, has been pencilled in for tonight’s Under-20s match against Falkirk at Livingston’s Energy Assets Arena (kick-off 7pm).

However, while Cairney would dearly love to be involved in Monday’s Scottish Premiership clash with his old club at Firhill, Fenlon is determined not to rush the 26-year-old back too quickly having been left short of options for that wide-left berth with teenager Alex Harris also out after breaking a bone in his right ankle on the opening day of the season against Motherwell.

Harris has begun his rehabilitation but remains some way off being involved in Fenlon’s squad but nevertheless Cairney’s progress will be good news for the manager, who has had to contend with a lengthy injury list which has included up to seven first-team regulars at any one time.

Skipper James McPake has overcome the fresh back problem he suffered during the second game against Malmo although he’s yet to start a top flight game, Ryan McGivern has shaken off a second knee injury of the season and Owain Tudur Jones was on the bench for the weekend defeat by Inverness Caley after being sidelined by a groin injury.

Tim Clancy, though, remains a concern, the full back, who has not featured since April, suffering a setback as he attempted a comeback following a groin operation while teenage midfielder Danny Handling has missed Hibs’ last three matches with a foot injury.