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Posts Tagged ‘ Colin Calderwood ’

Fenlon’s Selection Headache for Cup Semi-Final

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A dejected Pat Fenlon bemoaned his team’s lack of commitment following yesterday’s 3-0 defeat to Celtic at Parkhead, which continues a poor run of form which has seen Hibs win only one league game this calendar year.

Fenlon has always insisted that a top six spot was his objective this season, and for long spells it looked as if this would happen. In fact Hibs sat top of the SPL on two occasions earlier in the season, but recent results have condemned them to the bottom half of the table for the third year running, a situation which has seen some fans questioning the ethics of the club from top to bottom. Continue reading

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Fenlon Proving His Worth

pfIt was little over a year ago when an Irishman was courted by a Scotland’s most underachieving football club. His mission, to save the club from relegation, his ambition, to restore the club to the lofty heights of yesteryear.

A lot has occurred since Hibernian plucked Bohemians supremo Pat Fenlon from the League of Ireland in November 2011. Fenlon, chief among the greatest League of Ireland managers of all time, was viewed by Hibs chairman Rod Petrie as the man to save his club from the trapdoor. It wouldn’t necessarily be an easy task as despite Hibs’ stature the harsh reality is that they were not too good to go down. Endless infighting, uninterested players and a tendency to change managers had all impacted on the legacy of the famed Edinburgh club.

Yet few could have foreseen Fenlon’s impact. Here was a League of Ireland veteran who was untested on foreign soil, with little hope and expectation, would he be the man to save the Hibees from the graveyard of Scottish football and re-establish a club in crisis?

Fenlon galvanised the floundering squad he inherited and with some loan signings in the January transfer window he formed a squad which would eventually avoid the drop and reach an il faithed Scottish Cup Final in the process.

One year on and much has changed around Easter Road. Fenlon has rid of the dead wood and troublesome figures from his squad and replaced them with combative steel, something which was missing while both John Hughes and Colin Calderwood stood atop the Easter Road helm. Ten new players have added a new dimension to Hibs, who possess the capabilities to challenge Celtic for the title this season but inconsistency has hampered such progress.

Hibs currently sit fourth with half the season remaining, sitting two points behind second place Inverness and eleven behind runaway leaders Celtic. Had Scottish football not been in such financial turmoil and had Fenlon been granted an extra million or so the outlook may well be different.

January will be a make or break month for Hibs, coming off the back of last night’s scoreless draw with fierce rivals Hearts. The club must do their utmost to retain the services of loanees Leigh Griffiths, Jorge Claros and Ryan McGivern or risk their season descending into obscurity. Given the ovation received by SPL top scorer Griffiths following last night’s game, the Hibs faithful will be extremely nervy as they enter the winter break.

Highs

Reaching Scottish Cup Final

Few would have predicted a relegation threatened Hibs side to be lining out at Hampden Park in May but that they did, thanks to the reinvigorating force that Pat Fenlon proved to be.

Beating Celtic 1-0

Last Saturday represented a definitive moment in Fenlon’s career as a solitary Griffiths goal and an inspiring defensive display saw his charges trump Scotland’s Champions League heroes at Easter Road.

Beating Hearts 1-0

A David Wotherspoon deflected shot was enough for Hibs to overcome their city rivals for the first time since May 2009 and earn a spot in the fifth round of this year’s Scottish Cup.

Avoiding the drop

A momentous victory over Dunfermline towards the end of Fenlon’s first season in charge was the catalyst for the Hibees finishing eight points ahead of their opponents, who were relegated despite the turmoil surrounding Rangers.

Lows

Losing the Scottish Cup Final

Hope and expectation were the order of the day as Fenlon sought to bring the coveted trophy back to Leith for the first time since 1902, a feat that instills fear and misery upon every Hibs fan to date. Few could have predicted the final to play out as it did as Edinburgh rivals Hearts trumped Hibs 5-1 and Fenlon was sent to the stands.

Underdogs have their day

SPL newcomers Dundee (3-1) and Ross County (1-0) both registered victories over Hibs in the first part of the 2012/13 season.

 

Hibs Chairman Rod Petrie’s Address To AGM

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Hibs Chairman Rod Petrie last night addressed the shareholders at the club’s AGM and once again urged lapsed supporters to return to Easter Road in their numbers or see a reduction on costs. Petrie also highlighted the reduced income from TV following the loss of Rangers from the SPL, and praised the work of the Hibernian Foundation and the supporters group ‘Let’s Work Together.’

He also apologised for the two seasons of under achievement and conceded that the appointment of Colin Calderwood was not a good one. Finally he advised those present about the two recent suggestions for league reconstruction currently being discussed by the SPL and SFL.

His full statement is printed below.

We have approved the Financial Statements for last year – only our second loss in eight years. We are keen to avoid a hat-trick and need your help to grow revenues while we continue to maintain a tight control on costs.

The poor performances on the pitch in the early part of last Season resulted in lower attendances and lower levels of income. This followed a difficult summer in which Colin Calderwood was linked with two jobs in England. When neither of the moves happened, Colin failed to convince supporters of his long term ambitions for Hibernian Football Club and Season Tickets suffered.

After a credible draw at Celtic Park at the end of October, Colin Calderwood left the Club following an ignominious defeat at home to Dunfermline Athletic in front of 9,531 supporters.

The way things worked out, the appointment of Colin Calderwood was not a good one. Mistakes were made. As Chairman, I take responsibility for that. I am sorry that we have all had to endure two seasons of under-achievement and decline.

After a thorough recruitment process, Pat Fenlon was appointed the Manager on 25 November 2011. He faced a tough task to turn around the Club’s playing fortunes. Pat completed the Club’s home SPL programme on 7 May 2012 with a return match against Dunfermline Athletic, this time in front of 15,281 supporters. The team won 4-0 to secure the Club’s status in the top flight of Scottish football – which should never have been put in doubt.

That progress and the Club’s re-engagement with supporters suffered a severe blow with defeat in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on 19 May. The Club apologised to supporters for the manner of that defeat in the aftermath of the game.

Some people had mixed emotions when the fourth round draw for this Season’s Scottish Cup paired last Season’s finalists. Pat Fenlon and the team were delighted to have the opportunity, so quickly to atone in small measure for the events of last May. We look forward to the fifth round tie against either Aberdeen or Motherwell.

The deep disappointment of May was compounded by major uncertainty over the summer months regarding the finances of the SPL following the insolvency of Rangers. New TV contracts were eventually negotiated with Sky and ESPN and approved by the SPL clubs on 3 August, the day before the start of the Season. The worst fears of financial meltdown were avoided.

Rumours of the financial position of Rangers had been circulating for some months but it was still a jolt to Scottish and European football when Rangers finally went into administration on 14 February. It took four months of twists and turns, deals and no deals, before the Rangers’ CVA was voted down by HMRC on 14 June.

Having run out of money, the Administrators immediately sold the assets to the consortium led by Charles Green, which had the effect of putting Rangers outside football. By selling Ibrox Stadium and splitting it from the club’s membership of the SFA and the SPL, Rangers had lost its ability to play football in Scotland or, indeed, anywhere in the world.

It took four months to put Rangers outside football. It took Scottish football just six weeks to find a place for the Rangers’ Newco.

Your Club did what it thought was right at every step of the process. The rest, they say is history.

Our performances on the pitch this Season have improved dramatically following the major overhaul of the playing squad undertaken by the Manager in the close season. However, it looks as if it will take sustained performances on the pitch over an extended run of games to have a meaningful impact on home attendances and so on Club revenues.

The number of home supporters attending Easter Road Stadium has grown slowly, game by game since the start of the Season – 9,024 Hibernian supporters attended the first home game of the Season whereas there were 10,136 Hibernian supporters in Easter Road Stadium at the last home SPL league match against Aberdeen.

And some 13,000 Hibernian supporters were here for the fourth round tie in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

It would be nice to think that those 13,000 supporters will return here at 3pm on Saturday for our SPL clash against Motherwell – or that we might achieve a modern day record attendance at 3pm on Saturday 29 December. The Celtic game has not been moved for TV. The only way you can see the match against the league leaders is by being here in the Stadium.

Growing the attendances by Hibernian supporters is our core strategy. We are asking supporters to do what you do best – support the team at home matches. If we cannot do that, and if we cannot grow our income, then the only route to get back to break even will be to make substantial reductions in costs. The Club is asking shareholders, supporters and everyone connected with the Club to play your part in getting back to where we all want it to be.

The Club has approximately 8,000 Season Ticket holders which is up on the number for last season despite the severe economic conditions facing every household. The Club is grateful to those supporters who rallied to the call in the summer to find additional Season Ticket Holders. In the main, it was existing Season Ticket Holders who bought the additional tickets or who bought Kicks for Kids tickets to help those less fortunate than themselves get access to Easter Road Stadium.

We know that there are still a significant number of individuals and families who had Season Tickets in 2010 and 2011 but who are not Season Ticket Holders today. Hopefully the Half Season Ticket offering will add to the number of Season Ticket Holders in the second half of the Season.

Members of the Lets Work Together group made telephone calls to lapsed Season Ticket Holders as part of the drive for renewals in the summer and their calls were appreciated by all who received them. The “Let’s Work Together Group” is a supporter led initiative formed over the summer and drawn from right across the Hibernian Family. Members of the Lets Work Together Group meet with staff on a regular basis to discuss ways in which the Club can improve. They have come forward with a range of good ideas to foster greater collaboration between Club and supporters. This is a small beginning which we hope will develop over the coming weeks and months for the benefit of the Club.

The Hibernian Community Foundation continues to make a difference in our communities:

· 468 learners have attended the Hibernian Learning Centre in the last two years

· 88 Football Fans In Training have lost almost 6 metres round their waists and 216 Kg in weight

· 67% of all participants in Fit For Work have gone on to employment or further education

· Over 45 players with learning disabilities have been coached by our U20 Academy players

·  And numerous young people have participated in a number of community coaching initiatives

The landscape of Scottish football is changing. The SPL spent two years developing a strategy for all of Scottish football. At the end of the day, the SPL could not win over 11 of its 12 clubs let alone the clubs which are members of other leagues. However, discussions are now being pursued in earnest between the SPL and the SFL under the auspices of the Scottish FA. There are two options which have been put forward in recent weeks:

· The SFL has suggested that the SPL and the SFL could be merged into one league for all 42 clubs organised into a top division of 16 clubs; a middle division of 10 clubs; and a bottom division of 16 clubs. That has merit, but on its own does not deal with the top clubs suffering a 20% drop in the number of games going from 38 league games per season in the current set up to 30 games per season in a 16 team league.

· The SPL has suggested that the 42 clubs could be organised into a top tier of 24 clubs with the remaining 18 clubs (currently SFL Division 2 and 3 clubs) organised in a manner that they think is best for them – either on their own or with clubs drawn from the Highland League; the East of Scotland League; and the South of Scotland league.

· The top 24 clubs would be organised into two groups of 12 clubs for the first half of the Season. They would play each other home and away, giving each club 22 fixtures in this first phase of the League which would run through to the New Year fixtures.

· Then, following a Winter Break, the second phase would consist of three groups of 8 clubs. This gives a further 14 fixtures per club and a total of 36 matches for the Season.

· Having a Top 8 continues the theme of ‘best v best’ with the top clubs playing for the Championship and for European places.

· The Middle 8 – possibly known as the ‘Play Off 8″ – would comprise the bottom 4 clubs from the top 12 and the top 4 clubs from the bottom 12. These 8 clubs would start on zero points and over 14 matches and would play for promotion and relegation. This means that up to four clubs could be relegated and up to four clubs could be promoted in each Season.

· The Bottom 8 clubs would play to avoid relegation and play offs which could lead to relegation from the tier containing the top 24 clubs in Scotland.

Both plans call for a change in the financial distribution model to reduce the huge financial difference which exists at present between the bottom of the SPL and the top of the SFL. A softer financial landing takes away the threat to the very survival of a club through relegation.

Neither plan is being advanced as a mechanism to provide for the accelerated promotion of Rangers.

There have been constructive discussions of late and more discussions are planned for the weeks ahead. Your Club will continue to play its part in these discussions at the top table of Scottish football.

Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, there have been significant changes at your Club – not just on the pitch but also behind the scenes and in the senior management of the Club. I should like to thank every member of staff for their hard work and dedication to the Club. Some of it is supporter facing but most of it is behind the scenes. They are the unsung heroes who help make your Club what it is today.

I would also like to thank Pat Fenlon for accepting the post of Manager at a particularly challenging time and for attacking the task of rebuilding the squad with conviction. Pat himself will tell you that it is still work in progress as we approach the January Transfer Window.

Today, we find ourselves near the top end of the most competitive league in recent years. We are 1 point away from second place; but there are just 5 points covering the six teams vying for a top six position alongside Celtic. With 27 points from 17 games; we are just 6 points short of our total points haul for the whole of last Season.

The stewardship of your Club is in the hands of the Board of Directors. The future of your Club is in the hands of the supporters who help in a real and tangible way by attending matches either on a seasonal basis or as walk up supporters. Our plea is a simple one – if you can, please attend matches at Easter Road Stadium to support your team!

Everyone wants Hibernian to be all that it can be, with success on the pitch, influence off it and making a difference in our communities.

Meanwhile, the Under 20 game against Celtic at Easter Road today has been postponed. This is bad news for Pat Fenlon and Gary Deegan who was expected to gain some much needed match practice following his recent injury.

Unhappy Anniversary for Pat Fenlon

Today marks the first anniversary of Pat Fenlon’s appointment as Hibs manager although he admits that it feels longer.

The former Bohs’ manager took over a club languishing near the foot of the table with crowds around the 7000 mark when he was named as Colin Calderwood’s successor. Despite yesterday’s defeat to Aberdeen, Hibs sit third in the SPL and the attendances have crept back to over 12,000.

Fenlon, who lifted five League of Ireland titles and three cup trophies during his nine-year managerial career in Ireland, was described as a winner by chairman Rod Petrie, but ironically, the favourite for the post had been ex Hibs star Michael O’Neill who was with Shamrock Rovers at the time and subsequently went on to manage Northern Ireland. Few amongst the Hibs faithful had heard of Pat Fenlon as he watched from the stand as his new team went down 3-1 to St Johnstone, but they would quickly see the passion so lacking in the previous regime.

The following week, his first match in the dugout was abandoned at half-time due to an electrical fire at Motherwell, with Hibs leading one-nil, which was a sign of the bad luck to come.

A busy January transfer window papered over the cracks, and amazingly the team reached the Scottish Cup Final where they were hammered by Hearts. They did however narrowly survive a relegation battle, beating Dunfermline 4-0 in the penultimate game in front of over 15,000.

Despite the ups and downs of his tenure to date, the likeable Irishman is adamant that he has enjoyed his year at Hibs.

When he was reminded of today’s anniversary, Pat said: “Really? One year? It feels longer to be honest!

“It has been enjoyable and it has been eventful, definitely – but whether it has been the most eventful, I don’t know.

“I have had periods in my career where I have managed clubs where players and staff weren’t paid for 16 or 17 weeks – so that’s eventful and a different type of pressure.

“With management, you take it as it comes because every day throws up something completely different. It’s been a pleasure managing this club and hopefully it goes on a fair bit longer. I’ve enjoyed it.

“We had some lows last season and some highs this season. But it’s difficult to put them into context because the last campaign was all about survival while this season there’s been more highs than lows.”

At least he has survived the clubs AGM, which is more than three of his predecessors, can say. Mixu Paatelainen, John Hughes and Colin Calderwood were all sacked in the week prior to the meeting as the board attempted to quell a fans’ revolt.

The supporters are desperate to see some stability at Easter Road, and Fenlon’s achievements so far have convinced many that he is the man to guide the club forward in the long term.

With a new scouting set-up being put in place and an overhaul of the youth academy structure under way, Fenlon is eager to make his mark in a way that will last.

He said: “As a manager, you want to see improvement on a regular basis. We’re happy we have improved but we are not sitting on that thinking, ‘That’s great; we’ve now got to where we should be’. We want to kick on.

“We are not fooling ourselves. A fair bit of work still needs to be done and we are looking at all aspects of the football side of the club at the moment.

“There is a lot of work going on all the time so we can help improve the team and the club as a whole.”

One surprising potential recruit is Kenny Miller who is understood to be keen on a loan move back to the team where he began his career under Alex McLeish.

The Scotland international is currently with Vancouver Whitecaps but has failed to set North America’s Major League Soccer alight since joining the Canadian side midway through the season, scoring only twice in thirteen games. He has not started a competitive match since the beginning of the month, when he came on as a substitute as Whitecaps side lost to David Beckham’s LA Galaxy.

The new MLS season starts in March, and Miller is back in Scotland training with another of his former clubs Rangers, but Leith would be his preferred destination.

Fenlon says he has been notified of the player’s alleged interest and admits he is curious, although he has not spoken to Miller or his agent.

He said: “It’s been mentioned to me in the last few days but it’s 
not something we’ve actively done anything about. Is he available and does he want to come and play for us? You never know. He’s a fantastic player and we look at all options to try and improve the team.

Sadly it was not a happy anniversary for Fenlon as his Hibs side lost to an on-form Aberdeen side, although many believed that Hibs deserved something from the game.

Fenlon said: “We didn’t deserve to lose. It feels worse than last week [3-1 defeat to Dundee] because we didn’t deserve anything out of that, but this week we deserved to win.

“Even a draw I think would have been a travesty. Their keeper was fantastic today, particularly the save he made from Eoin Doyle in the first half.

“I’m not sure exactly how many shots Leigh Griffiths has had but again the goalkeeper has made some great saves. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Hibs return to Perth this Wednesday before playing hosts to Hearts in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday in front of a packed Easter Road.

With Hearts in financial trouble, many feel that this game could be the turning point in the club’s fortunes as their rivals will no longer be able to pay exorbitant wages to attract players, and future games will be on a level playing field.

photograph by http://www.jcmackintosh.co.uk

Hibs Almost Safe After Pittodrie Win

Forgotten man Sean O’Hanlon was the unlikely hero as Hibs took a major step forward in their battle to avoid the drop, with a hard fought win at Pittodrie. The 2-1 victory, coupled with Dunfermline’s no score draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium means that Pat Fenlon’s men need just one point from their remaining two games to ensure SPL football next season at Easter Road.

Despite defeats to Kilmarnock and St Mirren since the break, former Bohs boss Fenlon has insisted that the players had been playing well and he had every confidence that their efforts would pay dividends.

Craig Brown’s team were still smarting from their heavy loss to Dunfermline and were determined to gain revenge for the semi-final defeat at Hampden last month, before a disappointing crowd of just over 5,000.

Fenlon brought in O’Hanlon to replace the injured James McPake whilst Jorge Claros replaced the suspended Lewis Stevenson. Top scorer Garry O’Connor returned to the team after missing the St Mirren game due to an illness, and replaced former Sligo Rovers striker Eoin Doyle who returned to the bench. Craig Brown made three changes to the team which lost 3-0 to Dunfermline on Saturday.

Hibs started brightly and took the lead after only seven minutes when a Leigh Griffiths cross was turned into his own net by Mark Reynolds, much to the delight of the travelling support.

The Easter Road men doubled their lead ten minutes later. Isaiah Osbourne robbed Fraser Fyvie in midfield, but his long range shot was deflected by Andrew Considine. Griffiths took the corner and O’Hanlon, who has barely featured in the first team since the departure of Colin Calderwood, headed the ball past Jamie Langfield at the near post for his second goal of the season.

Griffiths went close with a free kick as Hibs dominated the first half with 60% possession and the Dons left the field at half time to a chorus of boos from the home support.

The home side took the criticism to heart and pulled a goal back shortly after the break when Scott Vernon volleyed home from close range.

As the nerves began to show, Aberdeen took control of the game and Mark Brown did well to tip a fierce shot from Arnason over the bar. Hibs tried to hit on the break and Roy O’Donovan set up David Wotherspoon inside the box, but the youngster hit his shot over the bar.

With seconds to go, Magennis headed an injury-time corner over the bar, and the visitors held out to take the points.

After the game, Fenlon claimed that the victory was more important than the cup game. He said:” “If it means we stay up then it’ll be a much bigger win. I thought we played better tonight than we did in the semi-final to be honest.”

“It’s not done yet, the important thing is that we don’t get carried away. Dunfermline are going to come and throw everything at us, it’s a big game now for them as well.”

“At the end of the game we were under pressure but we should have been out of sight at that stage, we missed a fair few chances tonight. When it gets to this stage of the season it is a little bit edgy.”

The Hibs boss was also praised the efforts of Garry O’Connor who played despite not being 100% fit.

“He did well to last as long as he did as he’s been fairly ill for the past three or four days, so he’s only had one training session under his belt in about six days.”

Aberdeen: Langfield, Reynolds, Considine, Jack, Anderson, Hughes, Arnason, Fyvie, Rae Masson Vernon, Magennis  Subs. Brown, McArdle, Clarke, Fraser, Fallon, Mackie Megginson

Hibs: Stack, McPake, Kujabi, Hanlon, Doherty, Soares, Francombe, Claros, Osbourne, Griffiths, O’Connor, Subs Grant, Doyle, Sproule, Murray, O’Donovan, Wotherspoon Stephens

Attendance  5,281

Fenlon sets record straight after troubled week

Pat Fenlon has set the record straight following a turbulent week at Easter Road. Rumours of training ground bust ups, along with a lack of respect for the management team, have spread throughout the city following last Sunday’s derby defeat to Hearts, but the former Bohs manager has been quick to address inaccurate media reports and is keen to stress that outside forces will not threaten the unity of the squad during this crucial stage of the season.

Previous managers John Hughes and Colin Calderwood have both spoken about the unprofessional attitude amongst an element within the Easter Road dressing room, which has seen players arrested, banned from night clubs and suspended by the club.

This matter was raised by concerned shareholders during the AGM but the board insisted that they took the problem seriously and many of the incidents were exaggerated by the newspapers.

Fenlon’s latest comments suggest that something is still wrong but he is determined to sort the problem out. Speaking to Hibs TV, Fenlon said “From a football point of view, the past 48 hours have been business as usual. As a manager, you can’t control people telling lies; that is something that is outside my control.

“If people want to put stories in the papers that have no truth in them then you wonder what the agenda is and whether it is football related.

“From our point of view, we have been trying to put a game-plan together to beat Dundee United. We need to get three points and that is what it has all been about for the past 48 hours.

“The other thing has been a distraction and a poor distraction at that. We are just focussing on the job in hand.

“We’ve got to stick together, this week we’ve seen there are people who want to stick the knife in and criticise the club.

“You don’t mind being criticised about a performance. For example, getting hammered about the first half at Tynecastle. That’s fine and I can live with that. That is perfectly normal and all about opinions.

“But when people tell blatant lies about what’s going on at the football club then that is not normal or acceptable.

“It’s a home game for us and we need to improve our home record. It’s a great opportunity; we’ve got two home games before the split so it’s important we pick up points from them and we have to show the right mentality and attitude going into the game.

“Dundee United are a very good side and are on a great run of form at the moment. So it’s going to be a tough day for us and we will need everyone to perform well throughout the full 90 minutes.”

The unrest could not have come at a worse time for the board who are desperately trying to persuade supporters to renew their season tickets despite the fact that they cannot guarantee which division the team will be playing in next season. A number of incentives such as free Old Firm tickets, and cup top ups have been offered to those fans willing to sign up early for next season, but whether this is enough to tempt increasing disillusioned fans to part with over £400 remains to be seen.

Captain James McPake is doubtful for the Dundee United game following a training ground knock on Thursday. The on-loan Coventry City star has become a firm favourite with the fans due to his no-nonsense style and his absence would be a huge blow, particularly with United’s Dublin born striker Jon Daly in top form.

Meanwhile, former favourite Derek Riordan has been offered training facilities at St Johnstone.

Fenlon aims to end dismal derby run

2009-Riordan Penalty seals last Derby win

Pat Fenlon has told his players to play the game and not the occasion, ahead of Sunday’s clash against city rivals Hearts.

Only Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson remain from the last Hibs side to win a derby in May 2009.  Mixu Paatelainen was in charge that Thursday night when a Derek Riordan penalty separated the teams, since then, Hibs have shed three managers, with the team now bearing no resemblance to that one. Despite the comings and goings of dozens of players, neither John Hughes nor Colin Calderwood were able to find that elusive win, and Hearts go into this weekend’s match as firm favourites.

Confidence is returning however, as a rejuvenated Hibs have taken eight points in the last eight games, leaving them four points clear of Dunfermline in the fight against relegation, as well as reaching the Scottish Cup semi-final.

With Dunfermline not playing this weekend due to their opponents Celtic playing Kilmarnock in the League Cup Final, three points at Tynecastle would leave the Fifers with a mountain to climb, and the former Bohemians boss believes that his team can end the miserable run of nine derbies without a win, if they have the right attitude.

Fenlon told Hibs TV: “It is all about getting results. We go into another big game at the weekend and if we can win that then the momentum kicks on even more.

“People get joy and belief from that. It is a big game for us and if we can win then they will be a massive three points. So we’re looking forward to the game. We’ve just got to play the game. Don’t play the occasion, just play the game.

“It is about playing a football match and not about, who the opposition is. That will count for the supporters and obviously the stadium will be rocking. We’ve got to enjoy that and embrace it, but just play the game and leave the occasion to other people.

“Hearts will be the favourites – they are in a better position in the league and we haven’t beaten them in a while. But we are now a different proposition to what they faced previously when I was here. So we’re looking forward to the game.

“We’ve got a bit of confidence into the players and the players are looking forward to it as well. We know it will be a tough game – they are a decent side. But it is a massive game for us and an important three points is at stake.”

Winger Ivan Sproule and midfielder Isaiah Osbourne are both suspended and Tom Soares is expected to return to the starting line-up.  There will to be a strong Irish influence in the squad with Graham Stack, Matt Doherty, Roy O’Donovan  and Eoin Doyle likely to feature, so any St Patrick’s Day celebrations will have to be put on hold, at least for 24 hours.

The game will be shown live on ESPN at 1200 on Sunday.

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