HIBERNIAN defender Sean Mackie has made his long-awaited return to training following ankle surgery.
The 21-year-old, who made 17 appearances during a loan spell with Dundee last season, went under the knife to repair a slight fracture in February.
Mackie carried out his first light session at Hibs’ East Lothian base on Monday before returning to full-contact training on Tuesday.
The Scotland under-21 internationalist has already made 16 senior appearances for the Hibees after joining from Raith Rovers in February 2016 as well es enjoying loan stints with Berwick Rangers and Edinburgh City.
However, he faces a battle to put himself in contention for the left-back berth at Easter Road given the presence of Lewis Stevenson and the form of emerging teenager Josh Doig, who has impressed boss Jack Ross during pre-season.
Meanwhile, Hibs are confident prolific marksman Christian Doidge will be fit for their Premiership curtain-raiser against Kilmarnock.
The 27-year-old has not featured for the Hibees in any of their pre-season friendlies due to a slight knee injury he sustained earlier this month.
However, he resumed full contact training this week and, despite sitting out Monday’s behind closed doors defeat against Celtic, is understood to be making positive progress.
Doidge is expected to be in contention to line up against Killie on Saturday and Ross is keen to establish a partnership between the towering Welshman and £250,000 summer signing Kevin Nisbet, most likely in a 3-5-2 shape.
It remains to be seen whether he pitches the former Forest Green Rovers and Bolton man straight into the starting line-up on day one without any minutes under his belt.
Doidge notched 18 goals in 38 outings for the capital club last term, belying a slow start to his Hibs career to become a pivotal player for Ross’ men.