Hibs playmakers poised for return as Jack Ross welcomes more creative options

Hibs boss Jack Ross is looking forward to bolstering his options ahead of Saturday’s match against in-form Livingston.

Hibs duo Steven Mallan (left) and Jamie Murphy (centre), pictured with Joe Newell, are hoping to return to action against Livingston on Saturday. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Hibs duo Steven Mallan (left) and Jamie Murphy (centre), pictured with Joe Newell, are hoping to return to action against Livingston on Saturday. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

After watching his side put in an uninspired performance against Ross County in midweek, which fell well below the standards they have set this season, he said he was excited to be welcoming players back from injury lay-offs and grateful for the scope that offers him to tinker with the line-up if he feels that is necessary.

“We will look at how the players react in training because some of them have had a tough schedule but we should have a few more options within the squad on Saturday.”

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With seven players out at the weekend, he was unable to fill the bench against Rangers on Boxing Day due to suspension and injury but is gradually seeing men return to fitness.

“We have been a bit stretched but we should hopefully have Stevie Mallan and Jamie Murphy back, and Ofir [Marciano] involved again and that should help us a little bit by giving us options. You want that competition for places and we’ve had that this season.”

It will also strengthen the attacking threat after a couple of games without return in that department. And, while opportunities were created against the league leaders, it was a more ponderous and unimaginative showing against the lowly-placed Highlanders on Wednesday.

“The hardest part is always the final third, scoring and creating. Our players in that area weren’t quite at it against Ross County and then you look at what other options you have in the squad. In terms of that creativeness and ability to burst open the game, we didn’t have enough of those options. So Stevie and Jamie are the type of players who can do that, particularly in games where you are looking for something out of nothing.

“If we have that back, hopefully that will be a help to us.”

On-loan Rangers winger Murphy, who has been a regular starter when fit, has been out since early December with a hamstring strain, while Mallan has not featured since his influential cameo appearance in the Betfred Cup quarter-final victory over Alloa midway through the month.

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