Jack Ross has backed Dillon Barnes to handle the heat at Ibrox if Hibernian’s back-up goalkeeper is required to take on Steven Gerrard’s red-hot Rangers.
The on-loan QPR keeper was thrust into action for the final half an hour of Wednesday’s win over St Mirren after regular number one Ofir Marciano tweaked a hamstring.
But the 24-year-old did not let his boss down as he pulled off a number of tidy stops to ensure Hibs clung onto a 1-0 victory.
And manager Ross insists he has full faith that Barnes will do another decent job if he has to take on a table-topping Rangers side looking to make it 12 straight Premiership wins on Boxing Day.
Ross told HibsTV: “Dillon coming on is not an easy situation for a goalkeeper, so I was really pleased for him.
“He’s made a really good contribution to the club around the training ground and he’s popular amongst the players.
“Given he’s staying away from home at a difficult time – he’s got a young family in London – the character he’s shown has been good and I’m delighted that he gave us such a good contribution (on Wednesday night).
“Will it be a big opportunity for him if he has to play at Ibrox? Yeah absolutely.
“Look, I’ve been really fortunate to get him here. He trains well, he’s conscientious in his work.
“I’m just delighted he made a contribution with some saves, his kicking was good and that clean sheet will do him the world of good in terms of confidence and belief.”
However, Ross also says it is too early to completely rule out Marciano or midfielder Kyle Magennis, who also had to come off at half-time with a recurrence of his recent hamstring troubles.
The Easter Road boss, who will definitely be without Christian Doidge after his late sending-off against Saints, said: “They are both very similar. Kyle has had a little bit of tightness in his hamstring at half-time.
“It’s nothing too untoward but given what’s happened to him recently we don’t want to take any chances with that.
“Ofir was the same. He felt a little bit of muscle tightness in his hamstring and it didn’t really settle as the second half went on and, similarly, we don’t want to lose him for a prolonged period, so we made that decision.
“It’s a quick turnaround until Boxing Day so we’ll see how those two settle over the next day or so.”
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