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HIBS KEEPER CRISIS

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DILLON BARNES has been recalled by Queens Park Rangers to leave Jack Ross facing a goalkeeping crisis as he prepares for Hibs’ Premiership clash against Celtic at Parkhead a week tonight.

The Easter Road side have been hit by a No.1 problem after Loftus Road boss Mark Warburton opted to bring the rookie shotstopper back to the club from his loan at the Edinburgh outfit.

The 24-year-old Englishman had been thrust into the Leith club’s top side after first-choice Ofir Marciano suffered a hamstring injury in the win over St Mirren just before Christmas. Barnes had the gloves as the Easter Road side lost three consecutive games against Rangers, Ross County and Livingston.

However, with QPR No 1 Seny Dieng reportedly attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs, Warburton has recalled the youngster.

Unless Israel international star Marciano overcomes his knock or a new netminder can be signed, Ross will have to turn to 36-year-old goalkeeping coach Craig Samson. who has been on the bench for the past three outings. He last made a first-team appearance in November 2018.

Ross, though, refused to panic and told Sky Sports News: “Dillon goes with our best wishes and I’d like to thank him for his contribution this season.

“He’s been a well-liked member of the group, whose attitude has been first class since the day he arrived at the Hibernian Training Centre. Our goalkeeping coach, Craig Samson, has been equally pleased with his efforts.

“Dillon has performed well when he’s had the opportunity to play – especially in our recent game at Ibrox when Ofir Marciano missed out through injury. However, we understand the desire for regular first-team football.”

Barnes added: “I’ve loved every minute of my time at Hibs. I’ve been made to feel very welcome by everyone at the club and it’s been a great experience all-round.

“I’ve learned a lot that I’ll take with me, and it’s been a pleasure working on a daily basis with the coaching staff and the other goalkeepers.

“I’ll always look out for the Hibs score on a Saturday and it goes without saying that I hope the boys have a great second half of the season.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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