He might not be Hibs’ first choice right-back, but Steven Whittaker should be in Paul Heckingbottom’s starting XI this weekend.
Whittaker was dropped last week as Paul Heckingbottom welcomed David Gray back to the side. He hobbled off after 70 minutes, clearly feeling the effects of returning to competitive action after injury.
It was a clear sign that he is undercooked and Whittaker should be picked ahead of him.
Whittaker is a reliable Hibs option
Against Rangers, Jordan Jones gave Whittaker a roasting. The Northern Irishman destroyed the Hibees veteran as Rangers went on to win 6-1.
This was a tough afternoon for Whittaker, but it doesn’t automatically make him a bad full-back. He had an off day, and sadly for him, Jones made him pay for it.
He was dropped for the match against Morton last week. Gray made his return, but appeared rusty and slightly unfit. His return to full match fitness looks to be a couple weeks away yet.
To prevent him from further damage, Whittaker should be drafted in. On his day he offers and experience to the Hibs backline. Whilst he has lost a yard or two in recent years, he still makes decent contributions to the attack.
Against Rangers his lack of pace was exposed and that could be a problem against St Johnstone. Whittaker will likely face off against Matthew Kennedy who has pace to burn.
He’ll have to take his lessons from the Rangers mauling and apply them here if he is to have a successful match.
It’s important that Gray’s return to the team is measured, so Whittaker should be given the start to help that process progress.