Hibs head coach Jack Ross admits he is delighted Joe Newell’s return to the team coincided with the midfielder signing a new contract.
The 27-year-old missed six games with a groin strain he sustained against Celtic last month but made his comeback with an 84 minute run out in Saturday’s hard fought 2-0 victory over Hamilton.
Newell then put pen to paper on a new deal that will keep him at Easter Road until summer 2023 – with the option of a further year – on Tuesday.
The former Rotherham and Peterborough man has become a key player under Ross this season as Hibs close in on a European place.
Newell, who was initially brought to Hibs by then head coach Paul Heckingbottom as a left-sided winger before being converted into a central midfielder, has started every time has been available, a total of 27 games.
Newell’s return to the side at Alex Gogic’s expense was the only change Ross has made from their current four game winning run and the Hibs boss admits the player is an integral part of his plans.
Ross, whose team host Motherwell on Saturday, said: “It was nice to get Joe back on the pitch.
“The conditions made it difficult but for him to get through as much of the game he did was pleasing.
“He had not played for five, six week before the Hamilton game.
“It was nice to get him on the pitch and nice to get 80-plus minutes in and that will stand him in good stead for the remainder of the campaign as well.
“Joe is a really good player who has enjoyed a terrific season.”