Darren McGregor close to a first-ream return at Hibs after long lay-off

Defender gives Jack Ross a boost

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 6:00 am
Darren McGregor

Hibs defender Darren McGregor will take a huge step towards a first-team return when he plays in today’s SPFL Reserve League Cup clash with St Mirren.

And with club captain David Gray having made a return to training, the Easter Road side is close to having the full squad fit and healthy for the first time this season.

McGregor has been out of action since suffering an abdominal problem only 14 minutes into a Betfred Cup tie against Morton in mid-August while Gray limped off with a knee injury just a week later.

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Head coach Jack Ross had hoped to have played McGregor in a bounce match before now but was frustrated twice as games were called off but should the 34-year-old come through today’s fixture at the club’s East Mains Training Centre he could well go straight into the squad for Saturday’s

Premiership clash with

Aberdeen.

Gray’s comeback is likely to take a little longer but, revealed Ross, he has already made his presence felt on the training pitch. He said: “It’s great to have them coming back because it strengthens the squad.

“David trained with the boys yesterday for the first time and what he brings is evident, being able to drive standards and the tempo training. You shouldn’t under-estimate how important it is to have those types are your club because those who are vocal are probably a dying breed.

“To have that voice on the training pitch and to be the one that drives standards.”

Ross revealed he’d toyed with the idea of throwing McGregor straight back into the matchday squad but decided against it due to the length of time he has been out.

He said: “I know how desperate Darren is to be in my thinking. He would have liked me to have considered him without a game and I did think long and hard about it but he has not played for a long time so it was important to get him some minutes.

“He brings experience but he also has an absolute hunger for Hibs to do well, it’s perhaps a bit obvious to say that. Having him back in the squad gives us that bit of flexibility because he has played in back threes and fours throughout his career.

“As far as David is concerned, at the moment it’s about getting through this week’s training and then we will assess him again. His general fitness is very good but there are no targets.”