Scott Allan could be the answer to Hibs creative issues, according to manager Jack Ross
The Easter Road boss, whose team travel to face Celtic tomorrow night, says it is still early days but there is good news as Scott Allan prepares to participate in a bounce game this week, having been sidelined with a private health issue since late August.
There had been doubts about when and even if the midfield playmaker would return to first team action but, having rejoined the main training group in December, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The 29-year-old, who is in his third spell at Hibs has been gradually increasing his training load and his manager Jack Ross says the player and the club now feel the time is right to step things up and give him a run out in a friendly match.
“Weather permitting we are hopeful we will have a bounce match on Tuesday that he will be involved in. That’s another big step forward for him.
“From a health point of view it’s all going in the right direction. He has not played since August so that in itself is a relatively long period to be out of the game. So there are two aspects to it. First, making sure he is good to go from a health point of view. Second, from an all-round fitness view, making sure he is up to speed.
“But he is getting there. He is getting closer and the bounce game is another step forward.”
The news will delight Hibs fans who understand his creative value to their team and his ability to bolster Ross’ options in the middle of the park.
Deciding to run with a smaller squad this season, Hibs must have anticipated the former Celtic, Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion player being a talismanic part of that group. But he has managed only five appearances this term, the last coming against Aberdeen on August 30. Which means he will feel like a new signing if he can break back into the team.
“Because of the nature of his absence, we were not really aiming for him being back at any particular point.
“So, the fact he is closer does give us that confidence that he will improve the group again when he is fit and available.
‘It’s something we parked for a little while – it was best for us and Scott to ensure he was getting back to full health - but as he starts to edge closer to being available for games it’s a positive for us.
“He provides creativity in the final third and you would always like to have that in your squad. The more players you have starting games or coming on who can do arguably the hardest part – creating and scoring goals – the better. We have missed that option within our team.
“Scott has made a career out of being able to find passes that other players can’t quite see. It was certainly unforeseen that we would be without him for this period of time. So if we can get him back fit and available for the last few months of the season it would certainly help.”
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