Hibs' versatile loanee emerges as potential starter as Nick Montgomery admits 'trust'

With Moriah-Welsh suspended for trip to Dingwall, manager may turn to Triantis to plug midfield gap

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery was still able to take some positives from Sunday’s 2-0 defeat by Rangers as he looked ahead to Wednesday’s clash with Ross County.

While his team exited the Scottish Cup, lost Martin Boyle to concussion and picked up two red cards to Jordan Obita and Nathan Moriah-Welsh, the Easter Road boss gave Chris Cadden his first start, watched Rocky Bushiri put in another excellent shift at centre-half and could be pleased with the work Sunderland loanee Nectarios Triantis did as a defensive midfielder.

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Triantis’ performance was perhaps the most eye-catching of the three. Montgomery worked with the 20-year-old at Central Coast Mariners and says the Australian is someone he can trust. Thrown in at the deep end for his debut last month against St Mirren, Triantis had a rough time of things. A penalty concession in his next match against Celtic led to some Hibs fans writing him off. But he has bounced back and improved, not least in a new position as defensive midfielder.

Nectarios Triantis, left, played well against Rangers in a new role.Nectarios Triantis, left, played well against Rangers in a new role.
Nectarios Triantis, left, played well against Rangers in a new role.

Booked after just seven minutes against Rangers, Triantis had to walk a tightrope but excelled in the enforcer role in Hibs’ midfielder. Primarily a centre-half, he is able to fill in that role and seems the most likely fit to replace the suspended Moriah-Welsh in Dingwall. Montgomery takes great satisfaction from the youngster’s recovery following a difficult start at Hibs.

“He's really versatile,” said Montgomery of Triantis. “He can play centre-back, he can play 6 and if you are a deep-lying 6, a defensive midfielder, it's a similar position. He's technically very good on the ball. He's still young and he's had success in his relatively short career. But we went six months, really, without playing after he moved to Sunderland, which is a big move for a young player. You could see against Rangers, especially in the second half, that he is a player who can really dictate play, and physically he is very good. I've been really happy with Nectar since he came in – and I know he can be better. But every game and every training session is an opportunity for him to improve.

Did Triantis’ difficult start to life at Easter Road worry his manager? “Not really,” he said. I have full trust in Nectar. The first game he came in, Paul Hanlon fell sick that morning, so I had no option but to throw him in – we only had Will Fish as a centre-back. He came in and a couple of decisions probably went against him, but I know Nectar's character and that doesn't bother him. You can see now that coming into the team, in a game of that magnitude, I thought his performance was really strong. He's getting better every training session and every game and it's good you have players that are versatile – it definitely makes the squad stronger.”