Hibs defender David Gray was today beginning his fight back to full fitness barely 72 hours after having an operation on the groin problem which had been dogging him for weeks.
Gray was finally forced to admit defeat after battling through the pain barrier game-by-game and went under the surgeon’s knife on Monday, but the former Manchester United trainee was today back at the Easter Road club’s East Mains training centre, determined to be in boss Alan Stubbs’ plans sooner rather than later.
An initial timescale of between four and six weeks had been put on his return but the 26-year-old revealed his surgeon was happy with how the operation had gone.
Gray, Hibs’ vice-captain, said: “I spoke to the surgeon after the operation and he was satisfied with how it all went and, apart from a bit of soreness and achiness, it feels good.
“I’m back at the Training Centre where the hard work will start – beginning with some stretching and light rehab work. Hopefully it will all be pain-free because the pain dictates how much work I can do, but I’m looking forward to cracking on with it and getting back as soon as possible.”
As Gray returned to work, head coach Stubbs praised his player’s courage, revealing that without his determination to continue playing he’d have had the operation at least a month ago. He said: “David has done great. We’d really been trying to nurse him through but we knew we’d get to a point where he couldn’t carry on. Unfortunately that came at half-time in the Hearts game, but everything before then was a real bonus.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs has urged Martin Boyle to stop beating himself up over the missed chance which the on-loan Dundee forward believes cost Hibs victory over Falkirk last Saturday. Boyle passed up a gilt-edged chance to increase Hibs’ 3-1 lead minutes into the second half only for the Bairns to force a 3-3 draw.
Boyle said he felt he had let everyone down but today Stubbs insisted he hadn’t, saying: “Martin did not let me down, I thought his performance was full of optimism, that he looked really bright and did exactly what we wanted him to do. He gave their defence problems and while it is easy to look back and say at 4-1 the game would have been over, it should have been at 3-1.”
• Norwegian defender Edvard Skagestad hopes he has done enough during a extended trial period to win a contract with Hibs.
The 26-year-old, currently playing with Swedish side IFK Norrkoping, admitted it was difficult to predict what will now happen. He said: “It is only to be expected Hibs will want to take their time. I think my agent is in talks with them. It would be exciting for me to go to Hibs, I just need to wait and see.”