On a five-game Premiership losing streak, the Easter Road club will attempt to get back to winning ways when they head to Perth on Saturday. But they will have to do it without the attacking verve offered by Martin Boyle and Christian Doidge after the duo of forwards were each shown red in the midweek tussle with Ross County.
Doidge, making just his second appearance since injuring his Achilles in August, was dismissed for violent conduct after he caught Davd Cancola with a high-footed challenge. Hibs have appealed the decision, but if that fails to succeed, the sending off will rule him out of this weekend’s match as well as Wednesday’s league head-to-head with vanquished Premier Sports Cup semi-final rivals Rangers. Boyle, who was sent off after the final whistle, will miss just the meeting with St Johnstone after he was punished for the use of abusive language.
“At the time I was shocked [by Doidge’s sending off],” said Hanlon. “I never saw anything in it at the time. Play was going on and I didn’t think it was an incident worth focusing on, if you know what I mean. I didn’t think there was anything in it so I just followed the ball and, although I haven’t seen it again, it did seem harsh.
“And, Boyley’s red card after the game, I was pretty close to the situation and I heard what he said and, although I won't repeat it, I can say I didn’t think it merited a red card – nowhere near it – so we will have to see what comes of it now.”
Desperate to regain a foothold in the league and string together the victories they need to propel them back up the standings, the prospect of having to navigate an already difficult period without the best possible players is not one that pleases the Scotland centre-back.
“It definitely is tough. It is about getting back on track as quickly as possible but if we are going to be missing players through suspension, like we were against Ross County as well, with Ryan [Porteous] out, then that makes it more difficult for everyone.
“We need to be more careful in these situations because we know this is going to be a busy period and we need everyone fit and available, firing on all cylinders and ready to go, so we need to be a bit more clever in these situations and not give the referee those decisions to make.”
As captain, he said that message was one he would be emphasizing in the dressing room. That and the need to be more ruthless in matches when they have control.
“We came into the game full of confidence after the weekend but it was a strange game. I felt we were in control. But it was a really frustrating night.
“But it is a case of looking forward now. We need to recover as much as possible. This period is going to be huge and there is no time to rest so we have to dust ourselves down and try to get the win on Saturday.”