HBERNIAN have been handed a huge boost in their bid to avoid a relegation play-off spot after influential midfielder Scott
Robertson returned to first-team training.
The former Dundee and Dundee United player has been sidelined for two months with a knee injury sustained in the under-20s Edinburgh derby in February and his absence has coincided with the dire run of results that has plunged Hibs into relegation trouble.
The 29-year-old could lay claim to being the club’s most consistent performer in an erratic season, but last played for the Easter Road outfit as far back as 18 January and, since then, Terry Butcher’s struggling side have lost seven, drawn three and won just one of their matches.
Robertson was seeking game time with the club’s youth team following a suspension when his medial knee ligament was damaged against Hearts Under-20s and he has been “sorely missed” by the Easter Road outfit.
Saturday’s crucial clash with St Mirren in Paisley may come too soon for the Scotland cap but, with Hibs desperate for points to stay away from the dreaded second-bottom spot, his imminent return will be heartily welcomed by Butcher and the club’s worried supporters.
Butcher commented: “I don’t want to rush him back because the end of the season is coming up pretty quick.
“He has been sorely missed and it has been one of those seasons for us where players have been building up a head of steam and then got an injury or sent off or suspended or whatever.
“But we’ll play it step by step because it’s an injury we want cleared up before the summer so that he comes back for pre-season nice and strong and nice and sharp.” Saturday’s encounter with St Mirren kicks off a pivotal sequence of five matches that will determine whether Hibs can look forward to a summer of rebuilding for the Premiership or face worries over joining rivals Hearts in next term’s Championship.
A victory for the Easter Road outfit against the Buddies would go a long way to easing concerns and the capital men can at least take heart from being undefeated in the corresponding fixtures earlier in the campaign.
Butcher’s side have recorded just one victory in their last 14 outings but they have already drawn away to St Mirren, defeated Hearts at home, drawn with Partick Thistle at Easter Road, won at Ross County and beaten Kilmarnock in Edinburgh – the games they have left.
Butcher added on Hibernian TV: “It is encouraging but we have to make sure that we remain unbeaten in those five fixtures and, if we do so, we should be fine, seventh spot should be ours.
“There are clubs running us close and the clubs have to play each other, so it’s dog eat dog, but I was quite pleased with the fixtures.
“They don’t concern me, in terms of who we have to play. It’s about getting ourselves ready and getting ourselves prepared to do enough to win the games.”