Paul Hanlon injury update ahead of Hearts game after Hibs defender misses Dundee United defeat
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The 32-year-old was a surprise omission from the Easter Road side’s starting line-up against Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday, and his experience was sorely missed as 20-year-old pair CJ Egan-Riley and Will Fish were given the runaround by veteran Terrors forward Steven Fletcher while the latter fouled the former Hibs youngster for Jamie McGrath’s late penalty that secured three much-needed points for the hosts, and a first win in 11 games.
Rocky Bushiri remains sidelined for Hibs and Mikey Devlin is still working his way up to full fitness, the former Aberdeen and Hamilton defender an unused sub for a fifth straight game since signing as a free agent in February. Darren McGregor has all but finished his first-team playing career and while Marijan Čabraja played as a left-sided centre-back against Celtic last month, he was utilised at left-back with Lewis Stevenson not fully fit.
"Of course the defence missed Paul Hanlon – he's the daddy in there,” Johnson said after the 2-1 defeat. “It's just the verbals and the organisation, but he couldn't play, it was impossible with his knee. He was in too much pain and we've got to wrap him up in cotton wool to try to make sure he's available for next weekend.”
Stevenson, who came on during the second half against Jim Goodwin’s side, is struggling with fluid on the knee but was considered fit enough to play if required, and he replaced Čabraja for the final 15 minutes. But the absence of both Hanlon and Stevenson meant Hibs played a defence with relative inexperience of Scottish football, with only Chris Cadden having had more than one season of action in the country’s top flight after coming through the ranks at Motherwell.
David Marshall also appeared to suffer an injury during the second half against United, requiring treatment from the physio team after throwing the ball out of play. While there was no immediate update from the manager on the veteran shot-stopper’s condition, he played on and didn’t appear to be in discomfort, with 18-year-old back-up ‘keeper Murray Johnson not required to step off the bench for his senior Hibs debut.