Fresh injury blow for Hibs’ James Keatings

James Keatings has yet to play for Hibs due to injury. Pic: Neil Hanna
James Keatings has yet to play for Hibs due to injury. Pic: Neil Hanna
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Hibs striker James Keatings has been hit with another injury blow, with boss Alan Stubbs unable to say how long he’ll be sidelined.

Keatings, signed after being released by Capital rivals Hearts, suffered a hamstring injury during the club’s pre-season training stint in the sunshine of La Manga, forcing him out of the programme of friendly matches and the opening games against Rangers in the Petrofac Training Cup and Montrose in the League Cup.

But the 23-year-old was pencilled in as part of Stubbs’ squad for the first Championship match against Dumbarton, only to be ruled out once more.

Stubbs said: “He was pretty close, but it looks like he has stretched the scar tissue on the injury which has put him back a little bit.

“We don’t know time-wise – we need our medical staff to make sure it’s right. It’s disappointing for everyone, not least James, but unfortunately these things do happen.”

While Keatings was forced to look on at Dumbarton, Stubbs latest signing, John McGinn, played half-an-hour as a second half substitute, while Martin Boyle, who had knee surgery over the summer, made his comeback in the final few minutes in that 2-1 defeat with Dan Carmichael, who has yet to feature since his move from Queen of the South, remained on the bench. Stubbs said: “That was a positive we could take, that we have players coming back. Those that have been injured are getting closer and Dan and Martin will have got game-time in last night’s Under-20s match at Falkirk.”

Meanwhile, Stubbs has called on his players to get over the weekend disappointment by bouncing back with three points against Morton on Saturday. He said: “Nothing has changed my opinion since. We conceded two poor goals from set pieces that we shouldn’t have, goals that should have been prevented.

“I spoke with Dumbarton’s manager Stephen Aitken after the game and he was very honest in his assessment. He said they rode their luck at times and that everything went right for them and wrong for us, but it still doesn’t make the result any easier to take.

“It was not the start we wanted. We certainly could have done something about it, but not enough of us were 100 per cent at it. We need to move on very quickly.”