Jamie Maclaren and Mark Milligan will miss Hibs’ Premiership match against Motherwell next Wednesday after Australia secured their progress to the knockout phase of the Asia Cup.
The Socceroos defeated Syria 3-2 in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to finish second in their group and will now play either Japan or Uzbekistan in the last 16 on Monday night, just 48 hours before Hibs resume their league campaign at Fir Park.
Had Australia been eliminated in the group stage, which looked a possibility after they suffered a shock defeat to Jordan in their opener, Maclaren, pictured, and Milligan would have been able to return to Scotland in good time to feature against the Steelmen, and could even have been back in contention for this weekend’s Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Elgin City. However, they went on to beat both Palestine and Syria and remain in the tournament, with the Hibs pair starting both matches. Depending on Australia’s progress, Maclaren – who scored his first international goal against Palestine – and Milligan could miss one or both of Hibs’ subsequent Premiership matches away to St Mirren and at home to Aberdeen.
Manager Neil Lennon will be eager to welcome the pair back into his squad at a time when Lewis Stevenson, Ryan Porteous, Ofir Marciano and Thomas Agyepong have been battling injuries and Charalampos Mavrias, Efe Ambrose and Emerson Hyndman have departed the club.