Hibs set to hold onto defender despite Lee Johnson loan hint but midfielder could still leave

Hibs are set to hold onto defender Kyle McClelland despite Lee Johnson suggesting earlier this summer that the former Rangers kid could head out on loan.

With centre-back Rocky Bushiri sidelined through injury for at least two months after sustaining ligament damage during training, McClelland will likely remain at Easter Road unless something changes on transfer deadline day.

Speaking after the Buddies defeat Johnson played down the chances of bringing in a replacement, suggesting that current players would ‘have to step up’, and adding: “It probably won't be a position where we can go and get a ready-made permanent [signing].”

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McClelland, 20, has made four appearances for Hibs since signing at the start of the summer and could make more over the next few weeks.

Veteran defender Darren McGregor has been on the bench for all five Scottish Premiership games, initially providing cover while Paul Hanlon was still working his way back to full fitness and once the 32-year-old was available, for Bushiri; the Belgian missing the defeat by Livingston and Saturday’s reversal in Paisley.

One player who could still leave on loan is Dylan Tait. The 20-year-old midfielder was slated for a temporary exit by Johnson at the start of the summer but featured in the Premier Sports Cup matchday squads, getting 15 minutes at the end of the 5-0 victory over Clyde.

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He has not been involved in any league squads, and with several midfield players ahead of him in the pecking order, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him head out to a Championship side for another loan spell following his stint with Kilmarnock in the second half of last season.

Kyle McClelland is set to stay at Hibs after injury to Rocky Bushiri