May the force be with us again in time for Hibs clash, says Aberdeen boss McInnes

Hibernian's Efe Ambrose, right, with Aberdeen's Stevie May.

Dons boss Derek McInnes today confirmed Stevie May is on course to make his comeback against Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday.

And this time McInnes is convinced the striker’s return will be permanent after a short-term comeback last month.

The £400,000 summer signing from Preston is not only back in training, but he is also scoring goals in sessions.

An ankle injury has ruled the 25-year-old out for the last five games.

May sustained the injury in a horror tackle from Ryan Jack in a 2-1 loss to Rangers on December 3.

He made a brief substitute appearance late on in the 4-1 Scottish Cup defeat of St Mirren but has been sidelined since that first game after the winter shutdown.

McInnes admits that January return was too ambitious.​

But this time May is back and McInnes is convinced there will be no more setbacks.

He said: “We have Stevie May to come back into things.

“Stevie will get another full week’s training and will be available for Hibs.

“He trained last week and did loads of work individually .

“On Friday he was back involved and scored a lot of goals which was great for us and absolutely brilliant for Stevie and his confidence.

“He has taken a big step forward.”

May sustained the injury in a red card challenge from former Dons skipper Jack.

It was initially feared there could be long-term damage, but a scan ruled that out.

Yet the ankle continued to cause problems.

Rangers appeal against Jack’s red card was rejected at a Hampden hearing and the midfielder was subsequently hit with a three-game ban.

The aftermath for May, though, has been far more protracted than three games.

He has missed nine matches due to the ankle injury.

Initially he missed the immediate game after the Rangers clash, a 1-0 defeat of Dundee.

He came back for matches against St Johnstone and Hibs, but he was still troubled by the ankle injury.

He missed the last three games before the winter break. Having used the warm weather camp in Dubai to work with the club physios he made a brief appearance for 11 minutes as a late sub against St Mirren.

That was his last action.

McInnes said: “It was maybe a bit ambitious to get Stevie back then and it took a wee bit longer to return from.

“However, I feel this time it is different

“Although it is still painful in certain areas and certain ways he moves it, Stevie is far more confident within the movement.”

The injury absence was the latest blow for May, who spent 18 months on the sidelines at Preston after suffering a career-threatening knee injury in a game against Fulham in November 2015.

May’s imminent return will bolster the attacking options for the Reds, who have hit 14 goals in the last four games – all victories.

Next up is Hibs in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Aberdeen sit second in the table, eight points behind leaders Celtic.

McInnes predicts an exciting climax to the Premiership campaign.

McInnes said: “Neil Lennon is doing a brilliant job at Hibs and Crag Levein has Hearts going, so there are European spots still there to be fought for.

“It makes for an exciting finish as teams are looking for top six – and relegation could hit any number of teams

“In all areas of the league it is quite exciting and it will make a dramatic finale.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen’s Dean Campbell scored both goals for Scotland under-17s in a 2-1 win over Spain in Marbella.

In the second of three friendlies over the course of this week, Campbell slotted home two penalty kicks.

It comes on the back of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Poland – who are ranked seventh in the world at this age level. Motherwell’s Jamie Semple scored the only goal of that game.