Hibs defender Ryan Porteous has been caught in a club-versus-country dilemma after being called into the Scotland Under-19 squad along with Easter Road team-mate Fraser Murray.
The young Scots are due to face Denmark and Austria in Spain, warm-up matches for the final qualification hurdle of their European Championship campaign.
Porteous is a key member of coach Donald Park’s side having been captain as they reached the Elite Round.
The squad are due to fly out on Sunday, February 25, with the first of their two games at the Top Ten Sports Centre in Lloret De Mar pencilled in for two days later with the second on Thursday, March 1.
Hibs have a Premiership match at home to Hamilton on the Wednesday between those fixtures and Porteous is now a regular member of Neil Lennon’s squad, the 18-year-old turning in a man-of-the-match performance as the Easter Road side defeated Rangers 2-1 at Ibrox to keep a tight hold on fourth place in the table.
Porteous made his first start in the top flight in that encounter due to injuries to centre backs Darren McGregor and Paul Hanlon and, while both are likely to have recovered for this weekend’s crunch clash with Aberdeen, Lennon would be keen to have the youngster part of his squad for the visit of the Accies, particularly as only four games will thereafter remain before the split with Hibs determined to be in as strong a position as possible at that stage.
The fact the games in Spain are classed as “international challenge matches” rather than being competitive fixtures should help Hibs plead their case should they wish to have Porteous released.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s visit of Aberdeeb is heading towards a sell-out with all tickets for the Famous Five and East Stands having gone. A limited number of executive seats in the West Stand remain while Hibs have opened up part of the South Stand for their own fans. The second-placed Dons have sold their entire 1700 allocation for the game.