Hibs midfield duo walking suspension tightrope
Hibs are facing another potential midfield headache with both Marvin Bartley and Andrew Shinnie treading a suspension tightrope.
Easter Road boss Neil Lennon was forced to draft in Celtic star Kris Commons on a 28-day emergency loan as injury robbed him of the services of key players John McGinn and Fraser Fyvie along with striker James Keatings.
His problems have since eased with Keatings back in action following a medial ligament problem and Scotland internationalist McGinn a surprise second-half substitute in the 3-0 demolition of Championship rivals Dundee United. But Lennon admitted afterwards that the 22-year-old is yet to regain full match fitness, revealing he had only enjoyed two 20-minute training sessions in the days before capping his late appearance against United with Hibs third’ goal.
Fyvie, who has missed the last five matches, is said to be nearing a return but, as yet, the future of Commons is unclear with his loan period coming to an end. Lennon has indicated his desire to keep the 33-year-old, who hasn’t featured for Celtic all season, in Edinburgh but, with the transfer window open there may be other options available to him if the Glasgow club are open to approaches.
Having opened up a four-point gap on United, Lennon will obviously be keen to have his entire squad available as the title race heads towards the home straight and the loss of either Bartley or Shinnie would be regarded as a blow.
Both players have now accumulated five yellow cards, midfield enforcer Bartley’s coming as he turned in man-of-the match performance against United while Shinnie, an unused substitute in that game, earned his fifth in the 1-1 draw away to Morton in mid-December.
Bartley has actually only been booked three times this season but was twice shown the red card – against Ayr United and Raith Rovers – and, although both were rescinded, they were reduced to yellow cards.