Hibs boss Neil Lennon has revealed midfielder John McGinn may require an operation on the ankle injury which has been hindering him for much of the season.
The 21-year-old has been troubled by a piece of calcified bone at the top of his ankle, a problem which is being monitored by the Easter Road outfit’s medical staff.
But it hasn’t prevented McGinn playing for both club and country, the former St Mirren player called into Gordon Strachan’s squad for next Friday’s crunch World Cup qualifying match against England at Wembley.
However, Lennon admitted, it is a condition which is likely to get worse rather than improve although it’s manageable at the moment. He said: “There have been some games this season when John has been fantastic for us. He was outstanding at Dunfermline and played really well, really strongly.
“He was probably the best player on the pitch last Saturday before he had to come off with a knee injury.
“I do think, though, the ankle niggle is gnawing away at him and is progressively getting worse. We are able to manage him at the minute but he is probably playing and functioning when he is not 100 per cent fit and that is credit to him. It’s holding him back a tiny bit but it’s not stopping him from playing.
“We will get it looked at in the future but we have not come to that point yet. But, if it gets worse, then we’ll have to look at it.”
The injury won’t prevent McGinn facing Ayr United – the only side to have beaten Hibs in the Championship this season – tomorrow or making the trip to London next weekend. The fact the match is taking place the evening before the Capital club entertain Falkirk has given rise to the notion that the former Scotland Under-21 captain might feature in both games.
Lennon said: “It’s not ideal but it’s do-able. It’s something we’re going to look at. Obviously, we are pleased he’s been called into the squad but we’ve not had enough called away on international duty to get the Falkirk game called off.
“We’re planning to get John back as quickly as possible from London, to get him rested and ready to play depending, though, on how much – if at all – he plays in the game against England.
“It would be something I’d have to look at and we’ll see how he is feeling. We’ll make other plans just in case.”
Meanwhile, Lennon admitted he’s anticipating another tough game against Championship newcomers Ayr United when he takes his side to Somerset Park tomorrow.
He said: “Ayr have had a good season so far and have done very well considering they have just come up.
“They’ve had some good results but we just have to focus on trying to maintain the levels we have shown in the last two games.
“We were outstanding in them which brings a lot of confidence – but away from home it is never easy in this division.”