Hibs’ desperate battle to avoid being sucked into the play-off mire is set to suffer a triple suspension blow, it emerged today.
The Easter Road outfit lie just six points clear of the play-off spot occupied by St Mirren with just half-a-dozen matches remaining. However, Hibs have won just one of their last 12 games in the top flight following their derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle.
But Terry Butcher’s side will now go into Monday night’s clash with second placed Aberdeen – their last before the split – without veteran defender Alan Maybury and striker Danny Haynes. And as they begin the final straight facing the other five clubs in the bottom half of the table, they’ll be without Northern Ireland left back Ryan McGivern.
Haynes was sent off for a stamp on former Hibee David Wotherspoon as Butcher’s players lost at St Johnstone, his action earning a two-match ban which ruled him out of the derby and the visit of the Dons while Maybury will miss that game thanks to a one-game suspension after he picked up two second-half yellow cards at Tynecastle.
Coincidentally, the referee on both occasions was Steven McLean, the official finding himself in the unusual position of taking charge of two successive Hibs matches, but Butcher insisted he had no complaints with either decision, describing each as “justified and spot-on.”
McLean also booked McGivern during the derby for a foul on David Smith, taking the defender’s tally of yellow cards for the season to six – three of them having come in his last four games – and triggering an automatic ban for one match.
However, that punishment won’t kick in for a fortnight meaning the former Manchester City player will sit out Hibs first game after the split, the fixtures for which will are due to be released any day now.
Meanwhile, Hibs have the chance to regain top spot in the SPFL Under-20 table when they face Partick Thistle at Livingston’s Energy Assets Arena tonight (kick-off 6pm).
Celtic leapfrogged the Easter Road kids by beating Rangers 2-0 last night in a game played behind closed doors at Murray Park to lead by a point, but a win against the Jags will see the Capital side head the pack once again.
Hibs have announced that the deadline for their “Early Bird” season ticket offer – which allows fans to spread the cost interest free over 11 months – has been extended to April 7.