Posts Tagged ‘ Dean Shiels ’

Who Will Replace Pat Fenlon At Easter Road?

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Following Pat Fenlon’s resignation, Irish News Review casts an eye at those in line to replace the exiled Dubliner.

A poll on the Hibs-Net Fan’s Forum has Inverness boss Terry Butcher as the preferred choice, and media reports this morning suggest that the former England captain heads Rod Petrie’s list, and that an offer could be imminent.

Butcher has guided Inverness Caledonian Thistle to their highest ever league finish and but for Billy McKay missing an open goal in the semi-final of the League Cup against Hearts, he could easily have brought silverware to the Highlands. Continue reading

Fenlon In Double Swoop For Heffernan And Zoubir

HibsPat Fenlon has completed a double signing ahead of the transfer window closing on Saturday night.

Earlier today, the club confirmed that Dublin born striker Paul Heffernan has joined from Kilmarnock after agreeing a contract until the end of the 2014/15 season, and 21 year old French winger Abdellah Zoubir has joined the club on loan from FC Istres for the 2013/14 season following a successful trial this week. Continue reading

Paul Cairney becomes Fenlon’s third signing of summer

Pat Fenlon today made his third signing of the summer with the capture of Paul Cairney from Partick Thistle. The 24 year old Glaswegian has been linked with a move since the end of the season, and the move finally took place in time for pre-season training.

Cairney joins James McPake and Tim Clancy in the Easter Road squad, and manager Fenlon insists he is keen to add more players in time for the new campaign.

The former Boh’s manager told Hibs TV “Paul has been on our radar for a while now and we’re delighted to add him to the squad. He will offer us something different. He is a midfielder who likes to get forward and is always looking to spark the game into life.

“He can play in a number of positions both in midfield and in the forward areas and can finish well when he gets the chance. Paul has also got a fantastic attitude and never hides in a game.

“He is always looking to get on the ball. Plus he has the drive and ambition to help us to move forward as a team.”

Cairney started his career with Glasgow amateurs Queens Park for whom he played 54 times, scoring eight goals, before joining Partick Thistle. He then returned to Queens Park on loan, scoring another eight goals in 33 starts, and subsequently made 95 appearances for The Jags, scoring 18 goals, including 12 last season, bringing him to the attention of Hibs.

He said: “It’s absolutely amazing to sign for Hibs; it’s definitely the highlight of my career so far. But this is just the start of it, now I want to show the Hibs fans what I’m all about. Hibs are a massive club, everything is in place for us to kick on and have a strong season.”

The signing adds to the feel good factor which is slowly returning to Easter Road after the cup final defeat in May, and the news that James McPake had finally signed was greeted with delight by the Hibs faithful.

The 28-year-old, Northern Ireland internationalist will retain the captain’s armband, and he immediately promised better things to come. He said: “It’s looking very likely that there will be no Rangers in the SPL and that’s got its positives and negatives. It will be disappointing not to face them but on the other side there’s one less good team in the league. That gives teams like Hibs, Hearts and Dundee United the chance to try to put in a challenge to Celtic.

“I felt at home at the club and I developed a special relationship with the supporters. I’m excited to be part of what will be a new-look Hibs team. When the fans see stuff progressing with a couple of signings coming, I’m sure they will get behind us.”

Given the number of players who left the club at the end of the season, Fenlon is determined to increase his squad. He said:  “We’re pleased with the progress we’re making on the transfer front but we’re hopeful we can add some more new faces in the near future.”

As usual, the identity of Hibs targets remain a closely guarded secret, but speculation mounts that former midfielder and fan’s favourite Dean Shiels may be returning to Leith, and following Garry O’Connor being sentenced to 200 hours community service following his conviction for drugs offences, which could potentially rule out a move to Russia or China, a new one year contract could suit everybody concerned.

Hibs Still Not Safe After Losing To Kilmarnock

A Dean Shiels penalty just before half time was enough to secure the three points for Kilmarnock in a hard fought encounter at Easter Road.

Hibs went into the game with the knowledge that whilst fellow relegation candidates Dunfermline had fought back from 4-2 down against St Mirren to earn a point on Saturday, a victory would almost certainly mean SPL football next year.

Pat Fenlon made two changes from last week’s starting line-up, with Mark Brown replacing the injured Graham Stack and Lewis Stevenson who has just signed a new one year contract, replacing the injured Tom Soares.

The game kicked off in front of a disappointing crowd of just under 9,000 and Garry O’Connor created a chance within ten seconds when he dispossessed a Kilmarnock defender but his first touch let him down and the danger was averted.

Leigh Griffiths was controversially booked for diving after seven minutes when the on-loan forward went down in the penalty box after a challenge from Michael Nelson.

Griffiths almost scored after 24 minutes with a great effort which was tipped over the bar by Cammy Bell, and the Kilmarnock keeper had to be on his toes as Hibs gained three corners in a row. Hibs continued to dominate the game and Jorge Claros almost opened his Hibs account five minutes later with a long range shot which went narrowly wide, whilst a Liam Kelly tackle denied Griffiths after good work by O’Connor.

Referee Craig Thompson infuriated the home support by failing to book James Dayton after the Kilmarnock winger blatantly dived following a challenge from Pa Kujabi, and skipper James McPake went close with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross.

A well struck Isaiah Osbourne shot appeared to hit James Fowler on the arm, but nothing was given as Hibs continued to chase the elusive opener.

Just before the break, Claros ran into the back of Liam Kelly in the box and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Former Hibs favourite Dean Shiels sent Brown the wrong way to take an undeserved lead at half time.

The Easter Road faithful looked worried as on-form striker Garry O’Connor limped off and was replaced by Roy O’Donovan, and the second half continued with the home side having the upper hand.

Claros and Griffiths went close as Fenlon’s men chased the equaliser, but it was not to be, and the referee’s final whistle ensured that this season will go down in the history books as the club’s worst ever series of  home results, with only one victory at Easter Road.

The crowd left the officials in no doubt about their opinions about the referee’s performance, and after the game, a dejected Pat Fenlon said; “I’m disgusted that we haven’t got something out of it because we played quite well, my players’ performance was very good. He (Referee Craig Thomson) has got to assess his and other people have got to assess him, so I’ll let them do that.”

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

Kilmarnock Bell, Toshney, O’Leary, Fowler, Nelson, Kelly, Gordon, Dayton Harkins, Shiels, Racchi. Subs  Letheren, McKeown, Barbour, Sissoko, Silva, Johnson,Gross

Ref: Craig Thomson

Attendance 8877

Doyle sends new-look Hibs into the last eight of the Scottish Cup

The excitement in the cold winter air was palpable around Easter Road on Saturday, as Hibs prepared to face Kilmarnock in 5th round of the Scottish Cup. Despite league woes continuing, having suffered a four nil defeat to Rangers in Glasgow the previous weekend, Pat Fenlon’s dramatic overhaul of the squad in the closing stages of the January transfer window prompted a welcome wave of optimism amongst the supporters.

From kick-off, this optimism was given justification. Hibs pressed ahead, applying early pressure as Tom Soares strode forward with the ball from his own half and forcing a fine save from Killie ‘keeper Cammy Bell with an effort from range. The resulting corner saw the ball hit the back of the net, only for the goal to be somewhat controversially disallowed by the referee for an alleged infringement by Garry O’Connor. Yet Hibs were soon legitimately ahead, after some neat link up play which saw Eoin Doyle cleverly nod the ball on to Soares to the right of the goal, who proceeded to cut the ball back to Doyle. The resulting strike found the back of the Kilmarnock goal as Doyle claimed his first goal at Easter Road and his second in the cup competition.

Soares and Doyle, after showing examples of effective link-up play at Ibrox last week, appear to be continuing on in that direction. From other areas of the park too, quality of service is increasing to Doyle’s benefit. David Wotherspoon’s pin point cross from the left-wing found the Irish forward at the far post, though with the resulting header looping over. Into the second half, left-back Pa Saikou Kujabi impressed on his first outing in front of the Hibs supporters with a rampaging surge forward up the left flank, feeding the ball through to Doyle with a perfectly timed and placed ball. Doyle was unable to double his tally as Bell saved the low shot, yet Hibs were showing a desire and finesse in going forward that had been lacking in recent months.

Yet it was in defence that the biggest change could be noted. Fenlon’s Hibs have been much criticised for slack defending in recent games, with the shambolic goals lost at Ibrox last weekend being a case in point for the season so far. Kilmarnock, who have gained plaudits this season for their attacking style, pressed forward in search for an equaliser as the game progressed. Yet Hibs held their grounded solidly and astutely, with the home support cheering every block, tackle, and aerial battle won. The new signings were thoroughly effective in this regard. Matt Doherty thwarted Killie attempts to at the Hibs goal with some fine tackling, and James McPake followed suit, throwing his body in the way of a James Fowler volley which seemed certain to hit the target as the Hibs defence again repelled Kilmarnock’s advances.

Hibs held on to their lead to claim a one nil victory and passage through to the last eight of the cup. “They’re a good team and they caused us problems but our work-rate and our defensive shape was fantastic”, Fenlon told the BBC. This was a much changed Hibs side in both look and demeanour, yet the most noticeable improvement was in their attitude. This was a confident and assured performance, and Fenlon’s work at the Edinburgh club appears to be paying dividends. Hibs will hope to carry this positivity into their league campaign as the battle to move away from the relegation zone and up the table continues next Saturday with a home tie against Aberdeen.