Why Lee Johnson played Ryan Porteous in Hibs midfield against Rangers - and if he will do it again

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Hibs manager Lee Johnson hasn’t ruled out redeploying Ryan Porteous in midfield after the centre-back impressed in the middle of the park against Rangers at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The 23-year-old, who hasn’t been out of the headlines over the last ten days, was a surprise fixture in defensive midfield alongside Joe Newell in a new-look 4-2-3-1 set-up for the visitors. Porteous scored Hibs’ opener and didn’t look out of place in an unfamiliar role – although he did play ten minutes or so in the engine room in the friendly against Middlesbrough.

Speaking afterwards Johnson said: “I thought Ryan did extremely well against Rangers. It might have raised a few eyebrows me putting him in midfield, but I thought he filled the gaps well, he’s competitive in there, he’s a real athlete physically and he’s good on the ball. It was another good performance from a player who has, I think, shown a lot of commitment in difficult circumstances.”

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Porteous will miss the upcoming Edinburgh derby after picking up a caution at Ibrox but could well play in midfield again, with Johnson explaining that injuries and inexperience played a part in his decision to move the Scotland internationalist further forward.

"Jake Doyle-Hayes is out injured; Nohan Kenneh has only really had ten, twelve games in midfield himself because he was nurtured as a centre-half at Leeds; I wanted Josh Campbell further up the pitch because I knew we’d need legs around Kevin Nisbet – and I thought Élie Youan probably had his best game for us in terms of the tactical trust and the ability to break, and break through.”

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