Hibs are sweating over the fitness of Ryan McGivern ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership clash with St Johnstone after the defender was ruled out of Northern Ireland’s World Cup double-header against Portugal and Luxembourg.
The left back was seen crashing to the turf clutching his right knee in the dying minutes of the Easter Road club’s 0-0 draw with Ross County but there appeared to be no apparent problem as he travelled to join Michael O’Neill’s squad in Belfast.
However, there would now seem to be a concern over the former Manchester City star, who was making only his second start of the season against the Staggies having missed the two Europa League matches with Malmo and the opening game of the campaign against Motherwell after picking up a knee injury in the final pre-season friendly at Stark’s Park.
The fact the Irish team’s medical staff ruled him out of both Friday night’s game against Portugal and tomorrow night’s match in Luxembourg would indicate some level of anxiety over McGivern and gives Hibs boss Pat Fenlon fresh cause for concern just at a time when he was beginning to believe his early season injury problems were easing.
Both skipper James McPake, who suffered a back spasm in the second game against Malmo, and fellow defender Tim Clancy, who hadn’t kicked a ball in anger this season as he recovered from a groin operation, made their comebacks in a bounce match against Rangers in Glasgow. Neither featured in Saturday’s East of Scotland win over Berwick Rangers Reserves – Max Todd getting the only goal of the game – but the pair are expected to play some part in tonight’s Under-20 outing against Motherwell at Livingston’s Energy Assets Arena (kick-off 7pm).
Fenlon, though, reckons McPake and Clancy won’t be ready for the weekend trip to McDiarmid Park and the potential absence of McGivern would mean yet another reshuffling of his back four.