Hibs boss Neil Lennon has lashed out at the Scottish Football Association, accusing them of playing Easter Road kid Ryan Porteous when they knew he had suffered a serious knee injury.
Porteous tore a ligament in his knee while playing in the early stages of the prestigious Toulon Tournament in the south of France, but despite a scan revealing the extent of his problem he continued to play, appearing in four games in all, including the semi-final in which the young Scots lost 3-1 to England.
However, the 20-year-old has only just returned to training with Lennon’s squad, having missed their entire pre-season programme and is ruled out of tonight’s Europa League clash with Nsi Runavik of the Faroe Islands.
Lennon admitted he’d been left raging at the way Porteous, seen as an important member of his squad despite his tender years, had been treated, revealing his own head physio Nathan Spring, who was at the same tournament with England, was “mortified” at what had happened. He said: “Ryan is only just back on the training pitch now, so that is a good seven weeks. He has missed all of the pre-season build-up during what is an important stage for him.
“I’m not happy with the way he has been treated and I’m not happy with the way the club has been treated, because I have had no communication from them.
“I’ve asked for a report from the [Scotland] medical team explaining why he was played in the two games when scans showed he had a tear in his cartilage. Not even a phone call, not a courtesy call.
“My physio was out there with England and was mortified when he realised the extent of the injury. I don’t know exactly when it happened. He had a bit of a problem going out there, nothing major, it wouldn’t have stopped him playing.
“But he definitely played two games after that scan and that’s not right. The scans showed a tear and it’s not up to Ryan to make anyone aware – they were aware, yet they played him in two games after that.”
Lennon insisted he was unaware of what had happened to Porteous until Hibs returned to training on June 18, saying: “I got nothing from the SFA, not one call or email or anything. You would expect that.
“He may be fit for next week, but this is unacceptable in my view. Not only could he have done a lot of damage, it may have forced me to go out and buy a player on the back of it, because we have high hopes for Ryan.
“’Im all for them going to play for their country but the need to be looked after the right way. I don’t think that’s been the case.”