Hibs dealt double derby blow as summer signing faces ban and another player joins injury list

Hibs have been dealt a double blow ahead of the Edinburgh derby with Jair Tavares suspended and Demetri Mitchell ruled out through injury.

Friday, 5th August 2022, 5:59 pm
Updated Friday, 5th August 2022, 5:59 pm

Former Benfica winger Tavares started and played 69 minutes of last weekend’s Scottish Premiership opening-day victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park but will sit out Sunday’s hotly-anticipated clash with Hearts as he serves a one-game suspension held over from his time in the Portuguese leagues.

And Easter Road boss Lee Johnson has had his preparations for the showdown with his former employers further dashed after Mitchell – who could have been an option to replace Tavares on the wing – picked up a hamstring injury in the midweek game against Queen’s Park.

The 25-year-old, who came on as a substitute in Perth last week, was one of a handful of players using the second-string fixture to sharpen their match fitness, but now faces further time on the sidelines.

Mitchell has played just eight times since joining from Blackpool in January. An ankle injury picked up February’s 3-1 Scottish Cup win at Arbroath kept him out until the post-split trip to Livingston in late April but he suffered a setback and missed pre-season and the Premier Sports Cup campaign.

He joins Lewis Stevenson, who is also out with a hamstring injury, Kyle Magennis, Aiden McGeady, and Kevin Nisbet on the sidelines.

However, club captain Paul Hanlon could be selected for the first time this season after he featured in the development squad’s 4-2 defeat by the Spiders. He underwent knee surgery at the end of last season but is available for Sunday’s match after coming through Tuesday’s game unscathed.

Johnson said: “There are a couple of little knocks, and obviously, we have a couple of long-term injuries that we are dealing with at the moment.

Hibs boss Lee Johnson will be without six first-team players for the visit of Hearts

"Demetri is not quite there; he pulled up with a light hamstring injury – more of a cramp than it was a tear – so he will be out.

“Paul is available. He is probably a little bit shy of a starting spot but certainly his experience around the place will be beneficial.”