After six first team appearances at Easter Road, Ryan Gauld is heading back to Portugal with Sporting Lisbon.

Injury prevented Gauld from making a real impact at Hibs, having picked up a troublesome hamstring injury.

Gauld was hampered by injury. (Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Gauld has undoubted ability but he hasn’t been able to properly showcase that at first team level since moving to Lisbon from Dundee United.

He signed a long-term deal with the Verde E Brancos in 2014, but that is set to expire next year.

Whatever happens next, it’s last chance saloon for the man once dubbed the ‘Scottish Messi’.

Gauld may not be in Portugal for long

His contract at Sporting expires at the end of next season and it’s unlikely he’ll be there next term. He hasn’t made a first team appearance since the 2014/15 season.

Gauld hasn’t appeared competitively for Sporting since 2014/15. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

It’s no wonder he isn’t in that squad. The likes of Bruno Fernandes and Wendel are ahead of him, both of whom are superior players to Gauld. It’ll either be another loan move for him next season, or maybe even a permanent one.

He’s already had four spells out on loan, with no real success at any of them. It hasn’t entirely been his fault but he’s had limited game time all the same.

The attacking midfielder is still only 23 so he isn’t a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination. He made a decent impact initially at Easter Road but money could price the Hibees out of another Gauld deal.

Heckingbottom only seen Gauld play once. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

No Scottish team is likely to be in a position to pay a sizeable sum for the former Arab. If he is to return to Scottish shores, it’ll need to be on loan. If a permanent move is the preferred option, Gauld will end up going down south or perhaps taking on another foreign adventure.

With one year on his current Sporting deal though, it’s likely he will leave them on loan. If he still wants a career in Lisbon, he needs to have a stellar 2019/20 campaign.

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