James Scott primed for Hibs return as Jack Ross speaks on Nathan Wood exit
Hibs boss Jack Ross has hinted that James Scott is ready to go after he challenged the on-loan Hull City forward to improve his fitness earlier this season.
Nearly a month ago the Easter Road boss explained why the former Motherwell attacker had been omitted from recent matchday squads and revealed the 21-year-old had to “be at his absolute best” before being considered for involvement.
Scott was named among the substitutes for the Premier Sports Cup semi-final victory over Rangers last weekend and although he travelled with the squad for the midweek Scottish Premiership match against Ross County, didn’t make the matchday squad.
“James has worked hard, he’s got himself in better condition, and he’s now competing to be involved,” Ross confirmed yesterday.
“Midweek we had choices to make in our attacking players, and the likes of Jamie Gullan have been doing well in training.
“The absence of Martin Boyle and Christian Doidge opens the door for players like James.
“He’s given himself the best chance of being ready because he’s looked much sharper. We need him to be, and he needs to be as well, because he’s a young lad with lots of ability who should have a really good future and career ahead of him.
“He needs to make sure he keeps grabbing those opportunities and this one will hopefully come along for him soon.”
On-loan Middlesbrough defender Nathan Wood returned to his parent club earlier this week having made just a single appearance for Hibs in the 3-0 defeat by Dundee United. Asked if the situations with the England Under-20 captain and Scott were comparable, Ross said: “I know they’re both loan players and haven’t played as regularly as they might have envisaged, but they’re very different situations.”
Wood’s exit leaves Hibs short of a natural centre-back but Ross isn’t concerned.
“It’s something we looked at but we feel we’ve got some versatility in there. Paul McGinn has played a number of games at centre-back in his career, Josh Doig has, Alex Gogic has," he continued.
“We took that into account when we came to a mutual decision and balanced that up against what we’ve worked hard to create within this training ground.
“It’s about giving us the best chance of performing well and winning games over this month.”