HIBERNIAN’S 3-0 friendly win at Berwick Rangers was marred by a potentially serious injury to Danny Handling, which could leave the forward doubtful for the season opener against Rangers.
Scorers: Gray (16), Cummings (55), Allan (60)
Handling’s injury came in the first half when he was carried from the field after twisting awkwardly.
Hibs boss Alan Stuffs said: “It doesn’t look to good at the moment, but we will probably know better once we assess it. There is every chance it is quite a serious one. It is difficult to give a full diagnosis at the moment but things will become clear in the next 24 hours.
“It was his knee. He felt something before it and then he went down in an incident after that. I am disappointed for Danny and we can only hope that he gets a speedy recover”
On a brighter note for Hibs, Scott Allan, who briefly left the club’s week-long training camp in La Manga to attend the birth of his first child, was in irrepressible form at Shielfield Park, claiming two incisive assists for David Gray and Jason Cummings respectively.
Allan added his own name to the scoresheet in the second half with a super solo strike.
Hibs were again without marquee summer signings James Keatings and Danny Carmichael, with the latter battling back from a groin strain, while trialist Keith Watson remains sidelined.
Nevertheless, pre-season absences have allowed young Scott Martin to come to the fore for the capital club, and the 18-year-old midfielder was excellent throughout again.
It was the hosts who created the first opportunity of note, with Jonny Fairbairn heading inches wide after connecting to a corner-kick by Charlie Denton – one of six trialists listed by the Wee Gers.
A drive from distance by David Morris then stung the palms of Mark Oxley as Colin Cameron’s men started with a spring in their step. However, the hosts’ lively start was extinguished after 16 minutes largely thanks to the brilliance of Allan. The gifted playmaker carved the Berwick defence open with superb 40-yard through-pass, allowing Gray to slot past Mark Walters from close range.
The Hibees’ celebrations were cut short minutes later when Handling – impressing in a central midfield role up to that point – fell to the turf after twisting awkwardly. The 21-year-old was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Sam Stanton.
The visitors almost doubled their lead on the half-hour mark when Jason Cummings rose highest to meet a Lewis Stevenson cross - however he could only direct his point-blank header straight at Walters. Cummings made amends 10 minutes into the second-half, slotting home from eight yards.
Berwick keeper Walters made fine low saves to deny Dominique Malonga, Alex Harris, Sam Stanton and Cummings as Stubbs’ men found their flow during a fine second period. However, a man-of-the-match display was capped when Allan rifled a low shot home from 10 yards.
Berwick Rangers: Walters, Beveridge, Drummond (McNeil 45), Graham (Cameron 73), Fairbairn, Wilson (Ainslie 45), Denton (McKenna 45), Banjo, Henderson (Russell 65), Quinn (Helm 65), Morris. Subs not used: Lavery, Walker.
Hibernian: Oxley (Reguero 70), Gray (Crane 70), Stevenson (Dunsmore 70), Hanlon, Fontaine (Forster 70), Handling (Stanton 19), Malonga (Harris 70), Fyvie, Cummings (L Allan 70), S Allan, Martin.