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Jack Ross pleased to have a familiar face back in contention for Hibernian

St Johnstone v Hibernian – Scottish Cup – Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hibernian boss Jack Ross welcomes back Ryan Porteous for the visit of Celtic at Easter Road on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old defender was suspended for two games after being sent off against Rangers at Ibrox for a challenge on Joe Aribo with the visitors leading 1-0.

The cinch Premiership champions came back to win 2-1 and with Porteous out,  Hibs subsequently lost 3-0 to Dundee United before the weekend’s 1-0 loss at Aberdeen, which left the Leith side in eighth place.

Ross, who will have defender Darren McGregor missing for the game against Celtic after he was sent off at Pittodrie, said of Porteous: “He has been a big miss for us.

“I spoke in the aftermath of it about how much of his game I feel has improved and developed over the last couple of years and his performance level this season has been excellent.

“Consistent not just defensively but he is a big part in how we build the game because he is such a good passer of the ball.

“So we have missed him and we are pleased to have him back available.”

Ross called for some context into Hibs’ recent troubles and hopes dressing room trust built over a sustained period will help get the Easter Road side back on track.

The former St Mirren and Sunderland boss said: “If I reflect over the last three games, we received  lot of plaudits in the wake of our defeat at Ibrox in terms of our performances, particularly with 11 men but even then with 10.

“I was quite open and frank after the Dundee United game about the performance level, where we got what we deserved.

“And at the weekend I don’t think we were that bad, we didn’t necessarily deserve to lose the game so there has been a mixed bag within it.

“But over the last couple of years the players have built up a trust in what we do and it is about retaining that.”

Ross is expecting an open game against Ange Postecoglou’s rejuvenated Celtic side, who have now won four matches in a row.

He said: “They have a real attacking prowess, they are encouraged to play that way by their manager.

“They have shown that in the manner of their performances all through the season, not just recently.

“A few weeks ago I expected this fixture to be an open one and nothing has changed my mind.”