Steven Whittaker has taken a huge step towards regaining his place in Hibs’ starting line-up after playing a full 90 minutes for the first time in almost four months as the Easter Road outfit stretched their lead at the top of the SPFL Development League with a 6-0 hammering of Dundee United.
The 33-year-old defender has been troubled by a pelvic complaint for much of the season, sidelined after an injection aimed at curing the problem failed. But he’s returned to Neil Lennon’s squad in recent weeks, playing for a few minutes as a substitute in each of Hibs’ last three games against Kilmarnock, Hearts and St Johnstone.
Whittaker was part of a strong Hibs side which faced Dundee United at East Mains and Lennon would have been delighted to see him come through the entire match unscathed and seemingly now ready to play his part in the closing stages of the season as Hibs continue to chase down second place in the Premiership table.
Danny Swanson, another who hasn’t had much first-team action recently, played, as did Faycal Rherras although the Moroccan was forced off with a first-half injury to be replaced by Callum Donaldson. The Hibs youngsters were without defender Ryan Porteous and midfielder Fraser Murray.
The duo had left for Germany as part of Scotland’s Under-19 squad which will play the host nation, the Netherlands and Norway in their European Championship Elite Round over the course of the next seven days with the prize for the group winners being a place in this summer’s finals in Finland. The prolific Oli Shaw opened the scoring, presented with an easy finish after Swanson’s free-kick had been flicked on before Swanson himself made it 2-0 at half-time.
Scott Martin, currently on loan at Arbroath, added a third before goals from Josh Campbell, Jamie Gullan and a second from Shaw completed the rout.
Hibs: P Martin, Rherras (Donaldson), Campbell, Waugh, Mackie, Whittaker, S Martin, Stirling, Shaw, L Allan, Swanson.