Hibs head coach Jack Ross has welcomed the return of Ryan Porteous from suspension for the visit of Celtic to Easter Road on Wednesday.
The centre-back has been suspended for the last two games after being rec carded in the 2-1 defeat to Rangers. Porteous has had to watch from the sideline as his side have continued their losing streak with a 3-0 reverse at Dundee United and a 1-0 defeat to an Aberdeen team that hadn’t won in ten games.
Ross admitted that the absence of the 22-year-old had been felt and is hopeful the stopper’s return can mark a shift in the team’s fortunes.
“He has been a big miss for us,” the head coach said.
“I spoke in the aftermath of it about how much of his game I feel has improved and developed over the last couple of years and his performance level this season has been excellent.
“Consistent not just defensively but he is a big part in how we build the game because he is such a good passer of the ball.
“So we have missed him and we are pleased to have him back available.”
Ross was vocal in criticising his players after the Dundee United defeat, saying they hadn’t worked hard enough, but he felt the performance against Aberdeen was better. Reflecting on the three losses in a row, he said that there little similarity in the nature of the defeats.
He said: “If I reflect over the last three games, we received lot of plaudits in the wake of our defeat at Ibrox in terms of our performances, particularly with 11 men but even then with ten.
“I was quite open and frank after the Dundee United game about the performance level, where we got what we deserved.
“And at the weekend I don’t think we were that bad, we didn’t necessarily deserve to lose the game so there has been a mixed bag within it.
“But over the last couple of years the players have built up a trust in what we do and it is about retaining that.”
Ross now prepares to face a Celtic side that’s impressed with a fluid attack under Ange Postecoglou and the Hibs boss is anticipating a game where both sides get on the front foot.
“They have a real attacking prowess,” he said. “They are encouraged to play that way by their manager.
“They have shown that in the manner of their performances all through the season, not just recently.
“A few weeks ago I expected this fixture to be an open one and nothing has changed my mind.”
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