HIBERNIAN hope to have on-loan Celtic midfielder Dylan McGeouch back from injury in time for a double header against Rangers and Hearts during the festive period.
The 21-year-old has been out since October with an ankle injury that required surgery. Prior to that he had started to emerge as a pivotal player for the Easter Road side as they steadily put together a strong run of results after struggling to gel at the start of the season.
The Scotland Under-21 cap has been recovering from surgery back at Celtic with the help of the Parkhead side’s state-of-the-art equipment but is scheduled to step up his comeback bid this week at Hibs’ training base in East Lothian.
It is expected McGeouch will test out the ankle with a return to running on the East Mains pitches and head coach Alan Stubbs is optimistic the youngster could be declared fit for action in the near future. Hibs face a home game against Rangers on 27 December before travelling across the capital for the Edinburgh derby against Hearts on 3 January and Stubbs would be keen to see his squad bolstered by McGeouch for those matches – although he will not be rushed back into action.
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Stubbs said: “Dylan’s had a week with Celtic where he’s been on one of their non-weight-bearing machines.
“We’re hoping to try and step up his rehab with us this week.
“He’ll start running, so we’ll look to get him on the grass and really step it up towards maybe being back at Christmas or early January.”
Meanwhile, Hibs will closely monitor the fitness of David Gray this week after the influential full-back was substituted with the effects of an on-going groin injury at the weekend.
The former Manchester United player – who has impressed the fans since his summer arrival – limped off in the 57th minute of the 2-0 victory over Alloa Athletic but Stubbs is not ruling out the 26-year-old featuring against Raith Rovers this weekend following treatment.
He added: “He’s come off because he’s had a bit of rumbling groin problem over the last few weeks and we’ve been trying to manage it.
“For David to come off means he was really feeling it, because otherwise he would more often than not play through the pain.
“We’ll just have to see how that is and hopefully it’s one that will settle down quite quickly.
“But if there’s any chance of him playing, I think he’ll be the first one to try and put himself forward.”
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