Posts Tagged ‘ George Salmond ’

More despair for Fenlon as Hibs lose to Dundee United

Hopes that inaccurate media reports would galvanise the players into a winning performance failed to materialise at a misty Easter Road yesterday, as an in-form Dundee United easily swept aside a lacklustre Hibs side, leaving Pat Fenlon’s men only three points above Dunfermline in the fight against relegation.

The former Bohs manager made two changes from the team that lost last week’s derby, with Matt Doherty replacing the injured James McPake and Isaiah Osbourne, returning from suspension, replacing David Wotherspoon. Lewis Stevenson was given the captain’s armband and Leigh Griffiths retained his place despite his involvement in a training ground bust up earlier in the week.

Dundee United started the game strongly and Graham Stack did well to save from Gavin Gunning in the first minute, before Griffiths hit the bar following a George Francomb corner.

Stack was called into action again after 11 minutes with a stunning save from Jon Daly, and Hibs responded when Osbourne went close with a header in an end to end encounter.

As the first half progressed, Hibs took command and good play by Griffiths set up Roy O’Donovan whose effort was saved by Dusan Pernis, before Griffiths went close with a header from an Osbourne cross.

Hibs dominated the rest of the first half and Pat Fenlon was the happier manager at half time.

United started the second brightly and Daly could easily have scored twice in the first three minutes with unchallenged headers in the box, before ex Hibs midfielder John Rankin blazed a shot over the bar from inside the box.

On the hour mark, Ivan Sproule replaced Tom Soares who had been largely ineffectual and Gary O’Connor came on for O’Donovan.

Hibs had an appeal for a penalty when Griffiths looked to have been impeded in the box but referee George Salmond waved play on much to the fury of the Hibs supporters.

Dundee United eventually broke the deadlock after 65 minutes. A John Rankin shot was saved by Stack but Johnny Russell was first to react and slotted the ball into the net.

Daly was replaced by ex Sligo Rovers star Richie Ryan following a head clash with Paul Hanlon which left the big Dubliner requiring stitches, and two minutes later Gary Mackay-Stevens doubled the lead with a low shot from the edge of the box after good work by Russell.

Wotherspoon replaced Claros in an effort to get back in the game but United ran out the clock for a deserved victory.

The news that Dunfermline had gained a point after coming from behind against St Mirren did little to ease the pain of the Hibs fans who showed their dissatisfaction at the final whistle, by booing the team off the pitch.

After the game, a despondent Pat Fenlon said: “In the first half, we played quite well, but we didn’t come out in the second half. We didn’t show enough desire to win the game.”

“We’ve got to realise that we’re in a major scrap. We’ve got to keep working hard, that’s all we can do.

“We thought the last three or four weeks, when we’ve picked up some decent results and we got ourselves into the semi-finals of the cup, it should give people confidence, but when we come here, we seemed to be devoid of that.

“When something goes against us, we lose that belief in ourselves and that’s what we’ve got to change in the players. They’re edgy, there’s nervous, there’s no doubt about that. But here, when we concede the first goal, we lose our shape and we drop back into ourselves and we lose confidence.”

“We’ve performed better on the road. It’s maybe the relief from not playing in front of their own supporters because I know they are edgy as well. I can totally understand that. The club is in a dogfight, so you understand people being frustrated. We knew it was going to be a scrap. We’re here to make sure we stay in the league.

“One thing I never went away from is a fight. We have to make sure everybody else realises that we’re in a scrap.”

Hibs travel to Inverness next week hoping to repeat their victory earlier this season.

Elsewhere, Kilmarnock’s defeat of Motherwell leaves Celtic needing only to avoid defeat at Ibrox today to win the title. SPL chiefs had hoped to avoid the possibility of one half of the old firm winning he league at the home of their bitter rivals, following crowd trouble at Celtic Park on the last occasion this happened.

Hibs: Stack, Francombe, Pa Saikou Kujabi, Hanlon, Doherty, Claros, Osbourne, Stevenson, Soares, Griffiths, O’Donovan. Subs Brown, Wotherspoon, O’Connor, Doyle. Sproule, O’Hanlon, Towell

Dundee United Pernis, Watson, Dillon, Gunning, Dixon, Flood, Rankin, Robertson, Mackay-Steven , Daly, Russell. Subs Banks, Kenneth, Douglas, Ryan, Swanson, Armstrong, Dow

Referee George Salmond

Attendance 9161