Shaun Maloney is confident Ryan Porteous can become a top international player but admits work needs to be done to get him back on track after recent events on and off the field.
Ryan Porteous won’t be involved against Dundee United tomorrow or for the following three league games after his red card appeal was rejected.
It’s the latest incident in an eventful season for the 23 year old but he has the full backing of his manager, who’s determined to help him realise his potential.
Maloney said he was unhappy with the decision to uphold the current ban, and add a match for frivolous appeal, but also conceded that the bigger picture showed Porteous had work to do.
“We were disappointed with it not being overturned, but probably more disappointed at the extra game being handed out after the appeal,” he said. “Hindsight’s great but I still genuinely felt we could have had it overturned.
“It was tough for Ryan. He’s obviously had a lot of things like this to deal with this season, some on the field, some off it.
“But my job as manager is to support him and work with him to improve how many games he is available for. If we can do that, and we have to do that next season, I believe he can be a really good centre-half, internationally as well as for Hibs.”
Maloney will now look to guide his team through what is a defining part of the season. Hibs are among those fighting to secure a top-six place with two games to play before the split, starting with the visit of Dundee United. That’s followed by back-to-back derbies with Hearts in the league and the Scottish Cup semi-finals.
“Saturday against Dundee United is a really big game and then we have an even bigger game the week after and then another big game,” the manager added. “It feels like the big games are coming each week at the moment.
“I really hope that in these big games we show a real personality.
“I don’t have any questions about us competing because we’ve shown real desire not to get beat in the last few weeks, even in the moments at Aberdeen when we were down to ten men, but I really want us to go and show a level of performance under the most pressure, starting this weekend.”