Pat Fenlon Won’t Underestimate Stranraer


Hibs’ boss Pat Fenlon insists he will take nothing for granted against League One side Stranraer in tonight’s League Cup tie at Easter Road.

Speaking at the press conference ahead of the fixture, Fenlon said: “I think we have better players than we had last year to be honest and there won’t be wholesale changes to the team. We have added a little bit of quality and the ball retention has been good in the last couple of games.

“We’ve got a really good squad and when we get everyone fit it will give me a headache. We have some good players out at the moment; Tim Clancy, Paul Cairney, Owain Tudur Jones, Alex Harris and Danny Handling and apart from Alex they are all not a million miles away so it’s good squad, but it’s not just the players; we have a good staff. We have changed a lot of staff since I’ve been here and I’m really pleased with them. They work tremendously hard and have a real good knowledge of the game.

“It’s a cup competition you want to get a result in. It helps from a confidence point of view and a financial point of view and we have to make sure that we treat it properly and get it right and get into the next round.

“In cups you have to be patient and get through to the next round. Stranraer had a great result in the last round when they beat Ross County, which we haven’t done. We’ve had them watched for the last three games. They have some good players and work tremendously hard. You have to prepare properly. They played well on Saturday [in beating East Fife 2-0] as well and changed their shape a bit, so we know they are a decent side. We will give them the respect they deserved.

Meanwhile Kevin Thomson revealed that in an ideal world he would have stayed at Easter Road for an extra few months in 2007 and been part of the last Hibs’ team to win a major trophy, but that chance to move to Ibrox and test himself at a higher level was too tempting.

Many Hibs fans cast him as the villain for leaving when he did, particularly as close pal Scott Brown stayed and lifted the cup, but most have forgotten the role he played in helping the team progress through the tournament, and in particular that famous victory over Hearts in the quarter final at Easter Road where John Collins’ young team totally dominated possession.

Thomson said;” You need to weigh up these things; If I could have won that [in 2007] and then moved to Rangers and had the success I had, then, yes, of course I would have [preferred to stay]. But when these opportunities come…I have not got a crystal ball.”

“I sent all the boys a good luck message and I went down to my mum’s work, and she said: ‘They’re winning, they’re winning!’

“I was delighted for them, but would I have changed moving to Rangers? Probably not. I managed to play in a UEFA Cup final; I played in the Champions League. I won leagues.”

His move to Rangers mirrored that of Andy Goram who also moved along the M8 to Ibrox and watched his former team-mates lift the first available trophy, but then like Goram, the medals soon began to stack up.

He won two League Cup winners’ medals at Rangers, against St Mirren in 2008, just 12 months after Hibs had lifted the trophy, and against Dundee United in 2010, in a game which also saw teenager Danny Wilson shown a red card and the Rangers fans invent a new song “Nine men own the cup” to the tune of Boney M’s Brown Girl in the Ring.

Thomson also played in that infamous League Cup final defeat to Livingston in 2004 under Bobby Williamson, and is determined to add to his medal collection this year for his Hibs supporting father Alan’s sake.

“Even if I am not playing, my dad wants to come through and watch the boys. He is a Hibby whereas, if I was playing down the road at Middlesbrough or along the road at Rangers, he certainly wouldn’t jump in the car to support the team. Here, he comes across quite faithfully every week to support the boys, whether I am playing or not. It’s the same for me. Even when I was down the road, the first result that I wanted to see was the Hibees, it’s just the way you are.”

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