Leigh Griffiths to miss Hibs cup tie after ban

Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths
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Hibs today face losing striker Leigh Griffiths for next month’s Scottish Cup tie at home to Dundee or Kilmarnock after the on-loan Wolves man was offered a one-match by the SFA’s compliance officer Vincent Lunny ban for an offensive gesture during last Saturday’s tie against Cowdenbeath.

During the 3-2 win at Cowdenbeath, Griffiths, who had wasted an earlier, gilt-edged chance, struck an equaliser and directed a profane gesture towards a section of Hibs fans that had barracked their team as they trailed 1-0.

Meanwhile, Victor Palsson has been freed from his contract by Hibs, the Icelander the latest player to be told he can leave Easter Road as new boss Pat Fenlon’s January revamp of his squad continues. Although Fenlon has repeatedly refused to identify those players he’s deemed surplus to requirements, he has admitted there will be departures as well as arrivals before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Striker Junior Agogo and midfielder Matt Thornhill, like Palsson signed by former manager Colin Calderwood, are already understood to have been informed there’s no long-term future for them in a green and white shirt, the pair having failed to feature at all since Fenlon officially took charge.

Now Icelandic Under-21 internationalist Palsson, who arrived from Liverpool reserves on an 18-month contract last January, is believed to have been given the same message. Having quickly become a fans’ favourite with his tough-tackling style in the middle of the park, the versatile Palsson – who has also featured at right back and in central defence – has become something of a fringe player in recent weeks.

Although he played last week’s Edinburgh 3-1 derby defeat, there was no place for him in Fenlon’s squad for the William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round clash with Cowdenbeath at the weekend.

Palsson tweeted: “Want to thank Hibs, the fans and staff and of course the lads for a great 12 months I had at Hibs. All the best to everyone.” The player went on to say he would miss Edinburgh.

Teenage midfielder David Crawford’s departure was announced last week by Hibs, the youngster leaving “by mutual consent” as the Easter Road club confirmed that loan striker Griffiths would be extending his stay in Edinburgh until the end of the season.

Question marks have also been raised about the future of Sean Welsh, the midfielder who has found his Easter Road career blighted by injury, the latest being a fractured cheekbone sustained in a training ground clash with team-mate Martin Scott during pre-season.

Welsh has found himself a seat on the bench on a regular basis in recent weeks without having actually made his first team debut, leading to speculation that he, too, may be heading for the exit door ar Easter Road.

But it is understood Fenlon may, instead, offer the 21-year-old the opportunity to spend the second half of the season on loan where he can monitor his progress before coming to a final decision.