Kevin Nisbet to make Hibs comeback in friendly matches - but questions remain over Aiden McGeady's involvement
The Scotland internationalist hasn’t kicked a ball since suffering damage to his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus during a goalless draw with Celtic in February and although the Easter Road boss was weighing up whether or not to include the player in his squad ahead of the break for the 2022 World Cup, the fact Nisbet had not yet featured in any sort of match situation as part of his comeback was believed to be weighing on the manager’s mind.
The 25-year-old will now get gametime against the English Championship side and Hibs’ near neighbours, but Aiden McGeady may have to wait a little longer for his return to action, with Johnson revealing that while the veteran winger is close, he still isn’t 100 per cent.
“Kevin will play in both the friendlies we have during the break. Aiden, I’m not so sure about. He’s moving pretty well, in terms of his running and he’s still got that scamper of pace over five yards. Hibs haven’t seen the real Aiden yet, in terms of his commitment to striking a ball or to leaving his knee lax with a volley or a corner or a free-kick from the edge of the box or a whipped delivery,” Johnson said.
Hibs are working with the former Celtic, Everton, and Spartak Moscow wideman to help him back to full fitness, with Johnson describing the lingering issue as a ‘pinch’.
"That’s the focus with him. Can he play without pain and trust that that ligament is not going to give way again? That’s the only question with him, really. We know his undoubted quality but it’s that pinch we’ve got to try to get rid of,” the Easter Road boss explained.
“At the moment, he’s doing almost all parts of the training sessions, apart from tackling and feeling that full force through his right knee for a shot or a cross. He’s still getting a nip on it. That’s the bit that time will tell on."