Hibs: Hero Chris Hogg set to 'give it a go' again

HIBS boss John Hughes today refused to rule skipper Chris Hogg out of the final Edinburgh derby of the season despite the back problem which has plagued the defender for weeks flaring up again.

• Injury victim Chris Hogg could figure in the Hibs side for Saturday's derby against Hearts

Having missed Hibs' previous three matches, Hogg made a surprise return for the visit of Rangers at the weekend only to be forced out of the action at half-time as his back seized up once more.

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Hogg has spent another week receiving intense treatment from physio Colin McLelland and Hughes hopes he'll resume training with his team-mates tomorrow.

Today Hughes paid tribute to Hogg's courage in agreeing to "give it a go" against Rangers, well aware his manager's options in central defence were limited as Sol Bamba started a three-match ban which will also see him sit out the visit of Hearts and a crucial clash with Motherwell next Wednesday.

Hughes said: "We know Chris won't do any long-term damage, it's just a wee muscle problem which tightens up and needs deep massage to loosen it.

"It's been like this over the last four or five weeks.

"Chris has been training but then wakening up the next morning to find his back has stiffened again so we've been working his time-table differently, having him train on a Thursday and resting him up on the Friday hoping he'll be ready for the Saturday.

"He's been getting plenty of recuperation, massage and rehabilitation stuff and we are hoping he'll train tomorrow.

"I take my hat off to him for being prepared to give it a go because with this sort of thing there's always the wee niggling doubt in the back of your mind.

"There is the chance it might stiffen up at half-time as happened against Rangers – you could see from the way Chris was moving he couldn't go on – but that's a chance we might have to take."

Hogg's defensive partner Paul Hanlon is in the same position, being nursed through on a weekly basis as he battles to overcome a pelvic problem which has dogged him for months. Hughes said: "It says it all about Paul's mental strength. To put in the performances he has against Celtic and Rangers given what's going on has been fantastic."