Alan Stubbs is confident Scotland Under-21 involvement for Danny Handling and Jason Cummings won’t affect their chances of featuring in Hibs’ Championship match at Raith Rovers on Saturday week.
The head coach was delighted to see the young attackers earn international recognition when they were named in Danny Lennon’s squad on Monday for the friendly away to Hungary next Thursday afternoon.
However, that match is just 48 hours before Hibs are in action at Stark’s Park, so Stubbs has already spoken with Lennon to try and come to a satisfactory arrangement that will allow Cummings and Handling to feature for Scotland in Tatabanya while also remaining fresh enough to play in Kirkcaldy. He has no plans to request that the Rovers match be rescheduled.
“I’ve had a brief discussion with Danny Lennon and we’ll have more discussions about it before the game,” said Stubbs. “Danny’s aware of our situation so I think that’ll play a part in what he does with them. The Raith game won’t be switched unless we have more players called up.”
Despite potential disruption to his pre-match preparations next week, Stubbs is delighted that 19-year-old Cummings, the Championship’s top scorer, has earned his first call-up to the under-21 squad.
“It’s great for Jason,” he said. “It’s obviously a reflection of the fact that he’s doing so well and Danny Lennon’s seen that. This is just the start for Jason, though – as I’ve been stating for the past few months, he has to keep improving his all-round game.”
Stubbs hopes Handling, 21, is boosted by remaining in the international squad despite starting only one of Hibs’ last 11 matches. “Danny’s not necessarily been out of the team because of form, it’s just because competition for places is so good at the moment,” said Stubbs. “It’s great for him that he’s in the squad and it will be a chance for him to get some minutes under his belt. I’m absolutely delighted for the football club and for the two boys individually.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs continues to be optimistic about the chances of knee-injury victims Cummings and Dominique Malonga being fit enough to face Rangers on Sunday. Cummings was substituted at half-time in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Cowdenbeath, shortly after scoring his side’s second goal, while Malonga missed the match altogether.
“Jason’s responding very well to treatment so we’ll just keep monitoring him and see how it goes,” said Stubbs. “Dominique’s back in training. I would hope they’ll both have a good chance of being available for Sunday.”