Hibs: Skipper Chris Hogg set to return for vital Rangers clash

HIBS skipper Chris Hogg was today set for a dramatic return in Sunday's SPL showdown with champions elect Rangers having missed his club's last three matches with a back injury.

• Chris Hogg is set for a dramatic return for Hibs against Rangers

While the player himself admitted he probably came back too soon – playing against Falkirk and Dundee United before being forced back onto the sidelines – boss John Hughes revealed the defender came through a full training session yesterday with no apparent ill-effects.

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And, with Sol Bamba beginning a three-match suspension, Hughes insisted he'd have no hestitation in pressing Hogg into service against the Ibrox side.

As such, having Hogg's return couldn't be better timed while there was further good news for Hughes with Paul Hanlon, fighting a pelvic problem which severely restricts his training and Patrick Cregg, who has fought off a toe injury, also in contention.

Influential midfielder Liam Miller could also be back, the Republic of Ireland internationalist having missed last week's defeat at Celtic through suspension although he'd have sat out the game in any case with a calf injury.

Hughes said: "Chris came through training really well, now we have to decide whether he trains today or we just leave him, tick him over tomorrow and hopefully have him ready for Sunday. It's all in the balance but, hopefully, we will get two or three back, it's all hands to the pump at the moment with the injuries and suspensions we have."

The absence of Bamba robs Hibs of some much-needed physical presence, a fact Hughes is mindful of with the aerial threat Rangers possess in Kris Boyd, Kyle Lafferty, Madjid Bougherra and David Weir, particularly at set-pieces.

Hughes readily admitted factors such as that will influence his thinking, adamant his thoughts are only on Sunday's match and not the three subsequent games which will decide the final European places.

He said: "Every bit of our focus has to be on the Rangers game, everything is being geared towards that match and, if we believe Chris is the man for the job, we will put him in."

Hughes, meanwhile, dismissed a report linking him with a move for Kilmarnock striker Kevin Kyle as "news to me, pure speculation."

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Fans will be asked to mark the death of Sammy Baird, who played for both Hibs and Rangers, with a minute's applause prior to kick-off.

HIBS have announced the ticket office will close at 1 pm on Sunday while, in the event of Rangers clinching the SPL title, there will be no presentation on the final whistle.