BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Alan Stubbs is hopeful of strengthening his Hibernian squad this week as he runs the rule over former Rangers midfielder Rhys McCabe.
The Easter Road head coach, who is adamant Rangers signing target Scott Allan is not for sale, is keen to add to his options ahead of Saturday’s home League Cup tie against Montrose.
The capital club have suffered a regrettable week, having to reject ‘unwelcome’ bids from Rangers for Allan and then suffering a disastrous 6-2 hammering at home to the revamped Ibrox outfit.
Without Allan, who was deemed not mentally attuned to start Saturday’s Petrofac Training Cup tie, and new signing Marvin Bartley, who is still lacking fitness, Hibs looked short in midfield at the weekend.
Stubbs has been credited with on-going interest in Celtic’s Dylan McGeouch, who spent last season on loan at Easter Road, and in out-of-contract St Mirren midfielder John McGinn.
And he has also been assessing McCabe, who is a free agent after being released by Sheffield Wednesday this summer.
The 23-year-old, who left Rangers in 2012 at the depths of their financial crisis, joined Hibs for training last week after a similar stint at St Johnstone.
Hopeful that summer signing James Keatings, who was recruited after a season with rivals Hearts, will recover from a hamstring problem and Bartley will also up his fitness, Stubbs knows he needs to bolster the squad that fell to Rangers at the weekend.
He said: “Hopefully we might see one or two new faces on Saturday and then we’ll hopefully see one or two new faces for the first (league) game of the season.
“There will be no-one leaving this squad of players – we will certainly be adding to it, but there will be no-one leaving it.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs insists anyone evaluating the Championship title race on the strength of Saturday’s loss to Rangers would be wrong.
Whilst Ibrox counterpart Mark Warburton picked fault with his side’s display, despite their comprehensive victory, Stubbs is also clear his team – who were expected to fight it out for promotion – have improvements still to be made.
He added: “There’s certainly a long way to go. If anyone wants to judge the season on Saturday then they’re more than welcome.
“But I can certainly guarantee them that they’ll be kidding themselves on if that’s the case.
“We know it’s going to be a long season and a tough season, and we’ve got a talented group of players.”