Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney does not expect his injury crisis to ease in time for next weekend’s Scottish Cup quarter-final at Motherwell.
The Leith side were without a 10 first-team players, including captain Paul Hanlon and striker Kevin Nisbet, for Saturday’s goalless draw with St Johnstone.
Despite failing to score for the third game running and the fact they have won only one game since the turn of the year, Hibs remain firmly in the hunt for a European spot.
Their focus now turns to cup action at Fir Park, but Maloney doubts any of the injured players will return for that game.
He said: “Am I expecting any back next week? Unfortunately not, but that’s okay – that’s what it is.
“We go again. I push them again and hopefully the performance will be more like we got in the first half on Saturday, but we have to add a real clinical edge and more creativity in the final third because it is a cup game and we are going to get a result.
“We have 10 out and it is a lot, but I don’t want to keep using it, because when you do that in football you give other players the opportunity, particularly young players, and they have to go and grasp that.
“It is a sort of balance.
“I have a team that has an average age of 21 or 22, so I have to try to keep a balance. I would rather all the pressure came on me.”
In a game of few chances, Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark made a double save to deny Chris Cadden and Christian Doidge at the end of the first half, while neither keeper was troubled after the break.
The result keeps Saints just a point clear of bottom side Dundee, while the Perth club are now eight points adrift of safety.
In a second-half flash point Saints midfielder Cammy MacPherson was lucky to be shown only a yellow card by referee Craig Napier for a high challenge on Jake Doyle-Hayes.
Saints manager Callum Davidson admitted his player could have seen red.
He said: “It was one of those where he took a bad touch and he gave the ref a decision to make. At the time I didn’t think it was a red card.
“We’ve had some really tough decisions go against us this season and maybe we were a bit lucky to get one.
“I think there were other incidents in the game where there were easily yellow cards to other players and he chose not to do it, so credit to the ref for keeping 11 players on the pitch.”
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