Jack Ross hails Kyle Magennis impact and Kevin Nisbet performance as he steps up Hibs striker hunt
The Welsh striker will be sidelined until at least Christmas after suffering an Achilles injury in training and although the club were actively seeking to bolster their forward options regardless, the 28-year-old’s lay-off will accelerate that search.
Ross said: “It’s likely to be three of four months before Christian even returns to training so it’s a serious blow for us and for him as well.
“He was back in contention for the Wales squad and that’s been a big driver for him. He’s been terrific for us and I’m so disappointed for him.
“We’ll need to replace him. It’s an area we needed to strengthen before Christian’s injury but this heightens the need for reinforcements.”
Doidge is in the final year of his contract but Ross insists Doidge’s period on the sidelines won’t affect talks over a renewal.
"He’s still got plenty of the season left and the one thing he doesn’t need to do is prove to us what a good player he is.”
Magennis scored his fourth goal in five games as he slotted home Nisbet’s pass and the Easter Road boss insists that the former St Mirren captain’s form is exactly what he expected.
"This is not a rich vein of form – this is just how he is. His all-round performances have been excellent. It was always going to be difficult for him last season, coming back from a serious injury and picking up a couple of niggles, and Covid.
"He’s one of my boys; I gave him his debut and I’m fond of him. He’s got a huge career ahead of him but we challenged him this pre-season. We said, ‘you’re a Hibs player now’, and he’s proving he’s a terrific player."
Ross also praised Nisbet, who set up the opener and scored the second, adding: “He hasn’t scored as many as the other forwards but his overall play has been terrific since the start of the season.
“He’s come back from the Euros and his game has gone up another level. His movement for the two goals was magnificent.
“Kevin’s in a good place at the moment and long may it continue.”
The Hibs boss also revealed he had been given an explanation of the incident in which referee Bobby Madden had blown up after Kilmarnock captain Chris Stokes suffered a hamstring injury, with Magennis poised to take advantage of the situation.
“Bobby felt their player was in control of the ball and went down injured. For me that’s never been the case, but the referee has the discretion to stop the game at any time,” Ross said afterwards.
“Bobby always takes time to explain his decisions – it doesn’t mean I agree with it. Thankfully it had no bearing on the game but at that moment I was mildly frustrated to say the least.
“It’s not something that happens very often in matches and I’d like to see if it’s repeated with other officials throughout the season.”