HIBERNIAN manager Terry Butcher insists he will accelerate his plans to recruit new players after conceding that injured defensive pair Paul Hanlon and Ryan McGivern are facing weeks on the sidelines.
Centre-half Hanlon has been ruled out for three weeks with a thigh strain and left-back McGivern is not expected back any time soon after hobbling off eight minutes into Saturday’s 3-2 defeat by St Mirren with a hamstring problem.
That has left Butcher, who is also without defender James McPake as he recovers from a back operation, stripped of options at the back ahead of Sunday’s televised visit of Celtic. And after his side’s defensive frailties were exposed when they conceded three unanswered first-half goals to the Buddies at the weekend, the former Inverness manager is desperate to bolster his squad.
Butcher, who will also be without the suspended Scott Robertson for the visit of the league leaders, said: “We’ll be short this week because of one or two injuries, there is no doubt about that and maybe we’re going to have to work even harder to get one or two in. We’ve made progression on that front but we’ll certainly try and conclude that this week if we can.
“With our numbers being down, it’s imperative we now do get one or two in so that’s what we’ll try and do. Paul will be about three weeks so it looks like he’ll miss the Celtic game, and then we have a break after that with the match against Inverness being called off. We have a two-week gap, then we have the Scottish Cup tie against Raith Rovers and I’m optimistic he’ll be back for the Raith game.
“There is also Ryan McGivern’s injury now and it looks like he will be out for some weeks. We don’t have our problems to seek in that area.”
Butcher, who has been linked with a reunion with Oldham’s one-time Inverness striker Adam Rooney, added: “Any injury disrupts things but particularly when you get two players down the left-hand side. We conceded goals too easily against St Mirren and it was most unlike us.”
Butcher admits the only positive from the setback against St Mirren was the contribution of his three teenagers. Striker Jason Cummings started and Butcher reluctantly threw on Alex Harris to replace McGivern even though the highly-rated winger is not match fit after recovering from a broken ankle. Sam Stanton also came on for the ineffective Paul Cairney at the break.
Butcher added: “We didn’t really want to give Alex Harris 90 minutes because you’re thinking he won’t last 90 minutes, but he near enough did. Jason Cummings did well and Sam Stanton came on and did well.”