Hibs manager Paul Heckingbottom has admitted that he’s “not sure” when Ryan Gauld will be fit to return to action after a hamstring injury – and insists the midfielder “will be fit when he is fit.”

Gauld was injured in the recent clash with Celtic and has missed the last two games, with Heckingbottom conceeding he’ll miss at least a few more.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Paul Heckingbottom (R) Manager of Hibernian FC speaks to the media before the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Hibernian and Hamilton Academical at Easter Road on February 16, 2019 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

(Photo by Callum Landells/Getty Images)

The Sporting Lisbon midfielder had made a bright start to his loan move to the capital – and Heckingbottom admits he won’t be taking any chances on Gauld’s fitness.

“I’m not sure when he’ll be back, but he’ll be another couple of weeks yet,” said Heckingbottom, as quoted by the Edinburgh Evening News.

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“With hamstrings, you go through a full protocol and then you’ve got to get him on the grass and assess him then. We can’t take any risks. 
This is one of, if not the most, reoccurring injuries if you’re not careful, so he’ll go through the whole protocol. If there are any setbacks we would rather it was a day or two rather than a week or two.

16th February 2019, Easter Road, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Hibernian versus Hamilton Academical; Paul Heckingbottom Hibernian Manager takes the applause of the Easter road crowd on his debut

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“He will be fit when he is fit. We can’t take any chances with him and he can’t take any chances himself. We need him back on the grass only when it is safe. 
It is better to wait two or three days instead of rushing it and setting it back two or three weeks. Because when he is back fit we want him fit for the rest of the season.”

Gauld isn’t expected to appear in any of Hibs’ next three matches at the very least.

6th February 2019, Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Celtic versus Hibernian; Scott Brown of Celtic and Ryan Gauld of Hibernian compete for possession of the ball

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The Easter Road side are away to Dundee tomorrow, away to St Johnstone on Wednesday and at home to Celtic in the Scottish Cup a week on Saturday.

With the end of the season looming, Heckingbottom will be hoping he can get the talented midfielder back into the side sooner rather than later.

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