HIBERNIAN midfielder Joe Newell faces a race against time to be available for Sunday’s Premiership trip to face Celtic.

Newell has missed the last two fixtures against Ross County and Aberdeen after suffering a calf strain last week.

The 26-year-old, remains a major doubt for the visit to Glasgow after receiving further treatment in recent days – but head coach Jack Ross is keen to give him the chance to prove his fitness.

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Ross is likely to make a final decision on the former Rotherham man’s availability following training this morning.

Following a slow start to his Hibs career, Newell has been reborn following the departure of Paul Heckingbottom, shining in a more central role in Hibs’ 4-4-2 diamond.

Meanwhile, Ross says Steven Whittaker has been proving his worth from the stands during his absence from the team.

The 35-year-old is yet to feature under Ross but the manager said Whittaker remains a valuable part of his playing staff even if he is aware the defender is starting to consider his next step.

“I am certainly not discounting Steven from the playing side of things and I have had that conversation with him,” said Ross.

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“But I think he has that interest and ambition to take his career in that [coaching] direction in the future.

“He still has a part to play on the playing side but if we can utilise him in that other role then it’s something that helps us.”