By Alan Temple, Spain – @CCP_Sport
Devastated Hibs star Dylan McGeouch has apologised to supporters after he was ruled out of League Cup final through injury.
The 23-year-old limped off after just 26 minutes of Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final clash against Inverness as his fitness struggles this season continue, with Niklas Gunnarsson taking his place in the 1-1 draw.
Hibees head coach Alan Stubbs has confirmed that he suffered a fresh groin complaint – on the opposite side from the niggle which has plagued him this term – and indicated that McGeouch will be absent for the mouth-watering clash against Ross County.
The gifted playmaker is the second key man to be ruled out of the final for Hibs, with stalwart defender Paul Hanlon already sidelined with a thigh injury, however Fraser Fyvie could return at the weekend following five weeks sidelined due to medial knee ligament damage.
“First and foremost, we are all disappointed for Dylan,” explained Stubbs. “He is obviously gutted at the fact he’s going to miss the [League Cup] final and he hasn’t been able to come through.
“There’s no prognosis just yet. It’s his other side that he’s feeling, so we are going to let it settle down then speak to the medical staff and see what the best course of action to take with Dylan is.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’ll put our arm around him and we’ll make sure we get to the bottom of this.”
McGeouch, who enjoyed a hugely successful loan stint at Easter Road from Celtic before making the move permanent last summer, was full of contrition after seeing his comeback falter.
He tweeted: “Good performance from the lads. Just want to apologise for coming off with this ongoing groin problem. Hope to get it sorted Asap!”
While McGeouch faces the heartbreak of missing out on the first major final of the season, the Hibs squad last night landed in Spain as they spare no expense in their bid to bring a trophy back to Leith for the first time since 2007.
Stubbs will put his side through their paces at a plush training base near Malaga, with the capital club due to arrive back in Scotland on Thursday.
The Hibs boss is adamant the getaway will allow his side to enjoy the most thorough build-up to the County clash, without ball work being sabotaged by poor weather conditions and away from the distraction of the hype at home.
Indeed, Stubbs is certain the warm weather camp will ensure they are not caught cold this weekend – albeit the Costa del Sol was hit by incessant rain throughout the afternoon yesterday.
“It’s full devotion to the final as soon as we get to Spain,” continued the Easter Road gaffer. “The reason why we have done it is because we have a really busy schedule. We have had 10 games in 32 days and the players have responded.
“But we wanted to try to get away and be in an environment where we are all together, away from the publicity of what is to come the week.
“Most importantly we’ll be in a place where we know the weather will not affect our training. It has affected us in the last few weeks, when the conditions have been poor and it has made the pitches very heavy.
“Whereas this week we will go there and do a few things we want to work on, there will be no rush to get off the training pitch because the weather will be nice – not teeming down with rain or howling with wind. It’s just more time to spend on the training ground.”