Lee Johnson happy to throw Hibs new boys in at the deep end against St Johnstone

Lee Johnson insists he has no qualms about pitching new signings Marijan Čabraja and Élie Youan in to action in the Scottish Premiership opener against St Johnstone on Saturday.

Thursday, 28th July 2022, 10:30 pm

The duo were given the green light earlier this week following lengthy waits for their work permits to come through and although French forward Youan featured in the pre-season friendlies in Portugal, Josh Doig’s replacement at left-back has not been able to get any minutes under his belt since arriving from Dinamo Zagreb.

However, with Lewis Stevenson out injured, Čabraja could be in line for a starting berth at McDiarmid Park as Hibs look to get the campaign off to a winning start and Youan could also be involved from the start against Callum Davidson’s side with injury to Aiden McGeady reducing options in attack.

“It’s a big boost for us. It gives us balance with a left-footer in Marijan and speed in the front-line with Élie,” Johnson said ahead of the game.

“Do I feel confident in them starting and finishing 90 minutes? Absolutely. We have prepared them well physically.

“Everything has been building up to this first game of the season and we want to come out really bright.”

There has been some progress on the injury front with Paul Hanlon back training on the grass and new team captain David Marshall recovered from the sickness bug that kept him out of last Sunday’s pre-season friendly win against Norwich City. Jake Doyle-Hayes is ‘back in the fray’ but it remains to be seen if the Irishman will be involved against the Perthshire Saints, while Hanlon won’t be in Saturday’s squad.

“Paul has been on the grass, which is good, but he’s not quite ready for the weekend. Jake is back in the fray, and Marsh is over his sickness bug,” Johnson added.

Hibs manager Lee Johnson walks out to training with striker Élie Youan, who could be involved from the start on Saturday

“We’re moving into the first game of the season with a strong starting XI and a strong bench.”

Meanwhile, the Evening News understands Nacional defender Joaquín Sosa remains a transfer option for Hibs despite reports in Uruguay that the Easter Road side had withdrawn an offer for the 20-year-old.

The Capital club were earlier this week linked with a move for the centre-back who played for loan side Liverpool Montevideo in their 1-0 defeat by Sosa’s parent club on Wednesday night.