sport

Butcher to take no risks

Terry Butcher has insisted he will not gamble on the fitness of Scott Robertson and James McPake as he looks to steer Hibernian away from the relegation play-offs.

Both players have returned to training after lengthy lay-offs; McPake has been out since October with back problems while Robertson has not featured since January because of a ligament injury.

After five successive defeats, Hibs are embroiled in a five-way fight to avoid a two-match play-off for Premiership survival; Butcher's men are only three points clear of Ross County, who are currently in 11th place.

Butcher told the Evening News: "We've missed Scott, there's no doubt. Ideally I'd like to see him play a couple of matches at under-20 level, but the games are running out there too.

"Both Scott and James have been doing well in training, but I don't like to gamble on players' fitness.

"If you ask a player to play, he will say 'yes', so you don't let them decide. We'll speak to the doctors, the physios and, if need be, specialists."

Hibs have only won just once since they beat Hearts on January 2 and Butcher insisted his focus is now on Sunday's Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.

He said: "We has a good discussion after the defeat by St Mirren. We have four games left, we know what we have to do and the derby is a great game to be involved in."