Hibs defender Paul Hanlon admits he is gutted to be missing out on League Cup final

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Hibs defender Paul Hanlon insists the pain of missing the League Cup final has not been eased by the relief that he did not suffer a serious knee cruciate injury.

The 26-year-old admits the club’s medical team initially feared the worst when he hobbled off with a swollen knee during last weekend’s defeat at Dumbarton.

There was some consolation for the Easter Road vice-captain when a scan revealed that he had actually damaged a thigh muscle.

paulhanlonBut with Hanlon facing up to four weeks on the sidelines, the former Scotland Under-21 centre-half admits he is still gutted about missing out on next weekend’s Hampden showdown against Ross County.

Hanlon, who would have been suspended for Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash against Inverness, said: “We thought initially it was a cruciate injury purely because swelling came out in my knee.

“Looking at the way my leg was after the game, no matter what the injury was, it didn’t look like it was going to be a short-term thing.

“We obviously then discovered it was my thigh. That was a relief in some ways but as a football player you hate being injured and hate missing games so it’s a nightmare at the same time.

“Being a Hibs fan, the League Cup final is a game you really look forward to.

“But that’s part and parcel of football, you need to get on with it. I’ll still be cheering the boys on and hopefully we win it.”

Describing the incident that led to him suffering the injury, Hanlon added: “It came from nothing really.

“I jumped for a header, I think Christian Nade has backed into me and I’ve leaned over him.

“It came from a bang on the top of my thigh but I never felt it at the time.

“Just as I was walking away, I felt my knee swell up. I knew I had to come off because within ten seconds I couldn’t really bend my knee.

“It was a strange one, if I had felt real pain I would have known right away but there was no pain. The physios were a bit baffled by it to begin with.”

League

Hanlon missed Tuesday’s defeat at Queen of the South as Hibs’ Championship title hopes were all but dashed in a third straight league loss.

But the highly-rated defender is in no doubt that head coach Alan Stubbs will get the team back on track.

He said: “It’s difficult watching, especially with the recent games not being great but we need to get back on track.

“It’s a blip we never expected but with the manager we’ve got, he’ll have us right back on track.

“The Scottish Cup is something you look forward to, everyone knows about Hibs in the Scottish Cup. It’s one to get the fans excited again.

“We’ve proved we’re more than a match for Premiership teams.

“We might have a bit of a dent in our confidence but at the same time, we’re looking forward to it.”

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