BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Hibernian have been dealt a massive blow after it emerged that vice-captain Paul Hanlon will miss the League Cup final through injury.
The talismanic defender has been a rock at the heart of the Hibs rearguard for much of the season but picked up a thigh strain in Saturday’s costly 3-2 defeat to Dumbarton.
The 26-year-old limped off after 63 minutes at the weekend amidst fears he could have seriously damaged his knee ligaments.
However, a scan on Monday has instead disclosed a thigh muscle problem.
The former Scotland under-21 skipper, whose dramatic late equaliser earned Hibs a Scottish Cup replay against city rivals Hearts last month, is expected to be sidelined for around a month.
It is a huge setback for both Hibs and the player, whose form this term had team-mate Lewis Stevenson claiming recently that the stopper deserved a Scotland call-up.
As well as the final against Ross County a week on Sunday, Hanlon – who was already suspended for Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against Inverness Caley Thistle – is also likely to at least have to sit out the league encounters with Raith Rovers away and Dumbarton at home later this month.