Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson could miss the rest of the season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury during Ireland's 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Kazakhstan.

The Everton player collapsed in a heap after making a first-half challenge against Kazakhstan and was treated on the pitch for several minutes before being carried off by medics with his right knee heavily bandaged.

Interim Ireland manager Noel King confirmed the worst today at a press conference and confirmed that a scan had found that it was cruciate knee ligament damage. 

Gibson missed the start of the season with a knee problem and an extended absence will come as a huge blow to the Toffees after their positive start to the campaign.

Ironically, he had only just returned to international action after making himself unavailable for Ireland following former boss Giovanni Trapattoni's decision to leave him sitting on the bench for the Republic's entire Euro 2012 finals campaign.

He had indicated his intention to end his self-imposed exile in the wake of Trapattoni's departure last month and was duly called up by King for the final two qualifiers against Germany and the Kazakhs.

Gibson played the full 90 minutes in Cologne on Friday night as Ireland went down 3-0 to the Germans, but managed only 35 minutes at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday before disaster struck.