Hibs head coach Neil Lennon admits he is still hoping there is a chance that midfielder John McGinn could play in next weekend’s Championship promotion clash with Falkirk, despite being called up to the Scotland squad.
McGinn has kept his place in the 30-man pool for next Wednesday’s friendly against Canada at Easter Road and the World Cup qualifying visit of Slovenia four days later.
The 22-year-old travelled to Wembley with Scotland for last November’s painful 3-0 defeat to England but did not even earn a place among the substitutes.
And Lennon, whose side are six points clear of the Bairns at the summit ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Dumbarton, insists he would love to have the former St Mirren playmaker at his disposal for the clash with Falkirk if Strachan has no plans for McGinn against the Slovenians a day later.
He said: “I’ve not spoken to Gordon and I don’t know what his plans are for John.
“I would assume he will be involved in some capacity in the Canadian game and maybe I will speak to Gordon after that about what his plans are for the weekend.
“It would still depend how much he plays on the Wednesday and whether he comes through it unscathed.
“But I have left it with Gordon. John is his responsibility from Sunday onwards.”
Lennon, who will also be without Ofir Marciano against Falkirk after the goalkeeper was called up by Israel for their clash with Spain, added: “Would I like him back for the Falkirk game? I would, absolutely.
“But I’m not going to put pressure on anyone.
“He is a super player and when he doesn’t play you can feel his absence, not just on the field but off it as well, such is his personality.”
McGinn is back to his best after undergoing surgery last November to mend an ankle problem that he had played through for weeks.
Sunderland manager David Moyes watched McGinn in action in last Friday’s clash at Dundee United in a game Hibs won courtesy of Jason Cummings’ stunning half-volley.
Cummings took his tally for the season to 20 goals and Lennon admits the club are going to face a battle to hold on to the exciting young pair if they keep performing to such a high level.
He added: “How do you know he was watching John? It’s just speculation.
“He could have been watching Efe Ambrose or Andrew Shinnie, we don’t know.
“We have had this a long time, with John and Jason, but it is outwith my control.
“I want them to stay longer term but if you look at the progress they are making, it may be impossible to keep them. I don’t know.
“We will be prepared for that eventuality at some stage but John seems pretty happy with how things are going for him here at the moment.
“I think the club has been good for him.
“He has raised his profile here and won another major trophy, after winning the League Cup with St Mirren, and he has made it into the Scotland team.
“So his profile has been really lifted, by his own performances but also the stage the club have put him on as well.”