Hibernian boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed Ryan Gauld is still “not ready” for a comeback.
The 23-year-old midfielder has played only five times since signing on loan from Sporting Lisbon in January and has not featured since picking up a hamstring injury in the 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership defeat by Celtic at Easter Road on February 6.
Gauld has yet to play under Heckingbottom but after playing in a reserve game last week against Ross County it looked like he could be available for the trip to Livingston on Friday night.
However, Gauld did not make it and ahead of the game against Kilmarnock at Easter Road on Wednesday night, the Hibees manager admitted the former Scotland Under-21 player was still not under consideration.
Asked if Gauld was any closer to a return Heckingbottom said: “No.
“We played him in a game, he trained after that game but he is just not ready to be involved with us daily.
“We know it is the final part of his rehab and that’s where we need to get him, so he can train every day, gradually build his minutes with his development games and with us so that he is ready and we know that when we put him out to do 90 minutes for us that he can do it.”
With just seven games remaining, Heckingbottom admitted his frustration for him and Gauld.
He said: “There is nothing worse if you are a player than being injured.
“If a manager is not picking you at least you can do something about it and convince him on the training ground but when you are injured you can’t, you feel helpless and it is the worst part of the job.”
Hibs have been unbeaten in the league since Heckingbottom took over from Neil Lennon on February 13 and their 2-1 win over Livi ultimately left them in sixth place in the table, two points behind Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
Above all else, the former Barnsley boss has been struck by the honesty within the Hibs squad.
He said: “There has been a real honesty in the group. I called for it but I think it was there.
“The fact that what you see is what you get. If you ask them to do something they will give everything to try to do it and you can accept anything then.
“In the process of taking the job we had the opportunity to watch a hell of a lot of games and that was the stand-out quality.
“It was evident to us so we have tried to harness that and it is the most important quality.
“If someone beats us they are going to have to work extremely hard, have the rub of the green or however you want to put it, if we continue being like this.
“There is a way to lose and if we lose by leaving everything out on the pitch then fair enough.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.