Alan Stubbs has revealed he intends to keep Liam Henderson wrapped in cotton wool as the Hibs midfielder recovers from the viral infection which “wiped” him out.
Henderson was again missing from the squad for today’s trip to face Morton at Cappielow having sat out the win over Alloa Athletic a fortnight ago after being laid low.
But while the 19-year-old is feeling much better, head coach Stubbs insisted he won’t rush the on-loan Celtic player back into action. He said: “Liam is getting over it and he feels much better, but he still looks a little bit white. He still needs a little bit of colour back into those rosy cheeks he’s got.
“He’s doing much better but we’ve just got to really ease him back into the fray because it could have a negative effect throwing him back in too quickly. He was down, he was really low. It looks like he’s picked up some viral infection and it knocked him for six – it knocked him for 12, to be honest, the way he was.”
While Henderson may be sidelined, defender Paul Hanlon has returned to full training after missing Hibs’ last two matches with a hamstring problem. Stubbs said: “He’s trained well and it’s good he’s back with the group because he was excellent before he was injured.”
Stubbs senses his players are “straining at the leash” to get back into action and to extend their unbeaten run of 15 matches having had a two week break. He said: “Players are always like that when you’re winning.
“It’s very easy to get them back onto the training pitch and give them tough sessions because they just go with it. That’s the way they are right now. We’re chasing right now, chasing our goals and when you’re doing that and are on target, it’s great for the players.
“It’s when you are behind that maybe pressure starts to build. But they are enjoying the chase and long may it continue.”
Stubbs gave his players a week off during which they enjoyed their Christmas night out in Newcastle but, he revealed, many of them turned up at the club’s East Mains training centre in any case. He said: “A lot of them came in at least two or three days within that timescale and that tells you what players they are.
“When they’ve had their days off, their festive frivolities, it’s good to get down to your day job and doing what you do best. They’ve had a good week and worked really hard. It was easy to get them to focus on what’s ahead of them again and to get back to business. Everyone is in good spirits.”
Meanwhile, the Easter Road club have revealed half-season tickets are running at twice the rate of last year with the hope sales will pick up further before they become valid for the first match of next year, the visit of Raith Rovers on January 2.
A club spokesperson said: “We are very pleased with the half season ticket figures so far. Supporters are getting behind the team and the players are delivering with results on the park. There are a lot of big matches coming up in the second half of the season and we hope the support continues as we push for promotion.”
n Hibs’ allocation of around 900 tickets for the match against Rangers at Ibrox on December 28 go on sale to season ticket holders from 10am on Monday. The briefs, costing £24 (adults), £18 (concessions) and £7 (under-16s), will be sold in four waves depending on loyalty points with the first for those with 411 and more. Full details can be obtained on the club’s website.