Hibernian have been dealt a major early-season injury blow after it emerged that recent signing Aiden McGeady faces the prospect of more than two months on the sidelines.
The 36-year-old has suffered a recurrence of the medial ligament issue that kept him out of action for previous club Sunderland from November until the end of last season.
The former Republic of Ireland international, who joined Hibs on a one-year deal earlier this summer, is staring at the possibility of being out until at least October.
“It’s a disappointing one,” manager Lee Johnson said as he revealed the news about McGeady at his pre-match media briefing ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership opener away to St Johnstone.
“He’s going to be out for a sustained period of time after aggravating his previous medial ligament injury. It’s hard to put a timescale on it but it’s going to be minimum six weeks, although it probably averages about 10 weeks.
“I’m disappointed for Aiden first and foremost. He’s worked extremely hard to get back to a level of fitness that is capable of performing at Premiership level and unfortunately this has happened.
“It’s not ideal but it’s why you have a squad. Somebody else has got to fill that void on a leadership level and a performance level. We just do our best to recover him as quickly as possible.”
Johnson also explained his thinking behind appointing former Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall as Hibs’ new team captain, with long-serving skipper Paul Hanlon stepping into a new ‘club captain’ role.
Marshall, who joined earlier this summer on a two-year deal after leaving QPR, wore the armband for much of the ill-fated Premier Sports Cup campaign this month in the absence of injured defender Hanlon.
Ryan Porteous, 23, will be third in line to the captaincy as Johnson continues to put his stamp on the team after being appointed boss in May.
“It’s not really a change, to be honest,” he said. “It’s a new regime isn’t it? While it’s a new regime you’re looking to bring the best qualities of each individual to that leadership role. The fact I haven’t seen Hanlon kick a ball in anger yet and I’ve seen a lot of David Marshall over this pre-season period, it felt right.
“Paul Hanlon is a key part of the club moving forward, not just short term but medium term and potentially long term. I think it’s a great role for him with higher responsibility. He’ll be a bit of a daddy of the club, if you like, and it’s a role he can dine off for a long time if he does it well.
“The fact Ryan Porteous is going to start concentrating on that leadership element as well is important as it helps him channel that aggression into the controlled aggression we want. Also his will to win can be a positive for us.”