Posts Tagged ‘ Ivan Sproule ’

Hibs And Ross County Share Points At Easter Road

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Hibs dismal record against Ross County continued today at Easter Road as the clubs fought out a goalless draw. The home side dominated possession however in the end they were fortunate to keep a point as Ross County missed several good chances.

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Fenlon Delighted With Transfer Window

Pat-FenlonFor the past month, Hibs boss Pat Fenlon has insisted that his objective for the transfer window was to retain the services of three loan stars, Leigh Griffiths, Ryan McGivern and Jorge Claros for the remainder of the season. That was achieved after considerable negotiations between the clubs, and in an added bonus, a further two midfielders have arrived. Scott Robertson has moved to Easter Road on a two and a half year deal from Blackpool and Hibs also completed a last minute swoop to sign Matt Done on loan from Barnsley. In addition, St Johnstone’s Liam Craig has signed a pre-contract and will join the club in the summer. Continue reading

Hibs’ Dismal Highland Record Continues With Defeat to Ross County

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A first half goal from former Hibs star Ivan Sproule ensured that Hibs dismal run of results against Ross County continued with no wins in five competitive games. Continue reading

Fan Favourite Ivan Sproule leaves Hibs As Griffiths In Hot Water Over Racist Tweet

Ivan Sproule There has been no shortage of activity behind the scenes at Easter Road during the winter’s break.

Northern Irish winger Ivan Sproule has signed an 18-month contract at Ross County after failing to command a regular first team slot.

The 31-year-old established himself as a fan favourite during two spells at Easter Road, playing 147 times and scoring 22 goals, including a famous hat-trick in a 3-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox. He also played in the League Cup win over Kilmarnock at Hampden on 2007.

Colin Calderwood brought him back to Edinburgh in summer 2011 after a spell in England however he has only started twice this season, the last of which came in the 3-0 defeat at Inverness early last month.

Sproule, who joined his new County team-mates as they jetted out to Spain this morning for a four-day training break, told the Scotsman: “I know there was a bit of talk about possible moves in the summer, but I didn’t want to be hanging around in the stands for another six months.

“I am 31 now and want to be involved and contributing every week. I haven’t been able to do that this season and it has been frustrating.

“I knew Derek Adams from his time at Hibs and I liked what he had to say. There’s a good atmosphere and a great set-up up there. It’s a beautiful part of the country and I’m looking forward to getting my wife and kids up there.”

The popular winger left with the best wishes of all concerned at the club and Pat Fenlon said: “I would like to wish Ivan all the best as he embarks on the next chapter in his career, and thank him for his commitment and professionalism.

“Even when he wasn’t featuring as regularly as he would have liked, Ivan remained a model prop and a positive character within the dressing room.”

Meanwhile controversial striker Leigh Griffiths is in trouble after an alleged racist tweet. The on-loan star is regularly the subject of abuse and provocation online, and it is understood that he responded to an abusive tweet. He immediately deleted his comments and apologised to the ‘follower’ however details were passed to the media. Earlier this morning the club issued the following statement on the website: “Hibernian FC today confirmed that it had spoken to player Leigh Griffiths about exchanges on a social media website. The player had realised that despite the provocation, the language he used was totally unacceptable and had already apologised for what he said. The player has closed access to the account.

“The player supports the club and the whole of Scottish football in its stance against racism, bigotry and anti-social behaviour. The player will be subject to a disciplinary process which will be a private matter between the club and the player.”

Parent club Wolves also issued a statement condemning the tweet and confirmed that Griffiths is likely to spend the rest of the season at Easter Road, news which has delighted the Hibs’ faithful.

In further news, both winger Alex Harris and defender Bradley Donaldson have become the latest Academy graduates to be handed extended contracts at the club.

Attacking midfielder Harris, 18, made his first team debut against Dundee at Easter Road in October while centre-half Donaldson, 19, has been an ever present on the substitutes’ bench since early November.

Harris, who is nicknamed ‘Boozy’ because of his similar hairstyle to former Hibernian midfielder Guillaume Beuzelin, has signed an extension until June 2014.

Harris told Hibs TV: “Obviously I’m thrilled to be able to extend my deal with the club. Now I’ll be pushing myself on in order to get into the first team and to continue my development. It was a surprise. I had trained a couple of times with the first team before, but it was a big shock to be named on the bench and then to be brought on. My aims are to help the under-20s to win matches. Then I want to push forward into the first team and hopefully get some more game-time before the end of the season.”

Lifelong Hibs fan Donaldson said: “I’m very pleased to have extended my contract. I’ve been with the Academy since I was eight and I’ve been going to watch Hibs since I was two. It’s a great club and I had a season ticket when I was three and I used to go to away games as well until I was about 12.”

“To get on the pitch is my main goal and it’s one I’m working towards. When I was first called up into the match day squad for the away game at Motherwell in October it was a little unexpected, but then I was on the bench for the St Mirren game and I’ve pretty much stayed there ever since.”

Manager Pat Fenlon believes both players have got bright futures at the club.  “I’ve been impressed with Alex and Bradley – they’ve shown the right commitment and application.

“They’ve not been fazed by the challenge of stepping up and being involved at first team level and have shown good potential. We look forward to seeing them both continuing to develop into first team players here at Hibernian.”

Hibs Go Down 3-0 To On Form Inverness

Ivan SprouleTerry Butcher’s on-form Inverness Caledonian Thistle were too strong for an injury hit Hibs at the Tulloch Caledonian stadium today. The Highlanders went into the game in a confident mood, having completed a clean sweep of SPL awards, with Butcher receiving Manager of the Month, Bill McKay winning Player of the Month and Irish midfielder Aaron Doran receiving Young Player of the Month.

The travelling support were encouraged to see that Leigh Griffiths  had recovered from the ankle knock he picked up on last weekend’s cup win over Hearts, and Pat Fenlon made one change to the starting XI, with Ivan Sproule replacing Eoin Doyle.

After a quiet start from both teams, it was the Highlanders who struck first, after Alan Maybury was adjudged to have committed a foul 25 yards from goal. Graeme Shinnie’s  floated free kick found the head of the unmarked Draper who easily beat Ben Williams.

Hibs fought back and almost equalised when a mistake by Josh Meekings allowed the ball to run under his foot leaving Griffiths clean through on goal, but the on-form striker was denied by ex-Real Madrid keeper Antonio Reguero who made an instinctive one-handed save to push the ball over the crossbar.

Inverness continued to dominate possession and almost doubled their lead through a Tudor Jones shot which Williams did well to save, before a long-range drive from Draper was also dealt with effectively.

On 68 minutes Doyle replaced Cairney and he had an immediate impact by whipping in a cross that was only just cleared by Reguero.

Inverness scored a second in the 76th minute when David Raven’s back post cross was met by Irishman Foran who stooped to head into the Hibs net.

With seven minutes remaining Shefki Kuqi replaced David Wotherspoon, but Calley held on comfortably, increasing their lead in the closing minutes after McKay added to Hibs’ misery when he headed in a Doran cross to complete the scoring.

Hibs now sit fourth in the SPL with 27 points, behind Motherwell, Inverness and Celtic.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Reguero, Raven, Warren, Meekings, G. Shinnie, Doran, Draper, Jones, A. Shinnie, Foran (Sutherland 90′), McKay. Substitutes not used: Esson, Morrison, Laing, Polworth, Pepper, Cooper.

Hibernian: Williams, Maybury, Hanlon, McGivern, Stevenson, Claros, Taiwo, Wotherspoon (Kuqi 83′), Cairney (Doyle 68′), Sproule, Griffiths.Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Smith, Handling, Caldwell, Horribine.

Referee: Crawford Allan.

Attendance: 3,422.

All square in hard fought Edinburgh derby

A rejuvenated Hibs team had to settle for one point despite dominating a pulsating Edinburgh derby at Easter Road today. Andrew Driver gave the Gorgie men the lead against the run of play on 28 minutes when new signing Alan Maybury made an uncharacteristic mistake, but striker Leigh Griffiths equalised just before half time to the delight of the Hibs fans.

Pat Fenlon made two changes from the team who lost at Tannadice, with new signings Gary Deegan and Alan Maybury in the starting line-up, replacing Ivan Sproule and David Stephens.

Maybury started in the left back position, allowing Paul Hanlon to return to his preferred slot in the centre of the defence.

The Hearts fans arrived in numbers selling out the away end, and they were determined to remind their neighbours about the last time the teams met in the Scottish Cup Final in May. A large maroon and white banner with the date 19 May 2012 was passed across the Dunbar End, and the taunting started well before kick-off. Only four of the Hibs team started that day, highlighting the changes made by Pat Fenlon during the summer.

The game kicked off before a disappointing crowd of under 13,000, and Hibs boss Pat Fenlon had to be content with a seat in the West Stand as punishment for a gesture made to Hearts fans during the cup final. The Hearts fans, remembering this, repeatedly sang ‘There’s only one Pat Fenlon,’ the same song which instigated the gesture at Hampden.

Also in the stand was former Newcastle United and Blackburn  Rovers striker Shefki Kuqi who looks likely to be Pat Fenlon’s eighth summer signing.

Both teams started the game brightly, with David Templeton looking dangerous, beating Tim Clancy on the right wing before his shot was well saved by Ben Williams, and Kevin McHattie was lucky to escape a booking for a foul on David Wotherspoon in front of the dug-out as the game progressed at a frantic pace.

Ben Williams did well to save a long range shot from Darren Barr , and John Sutton was also fortunate to avoid a yellow card after fouling Paul Hanlon who needed treatment after the clash.

Finally, after eighteen minutes, referee Willie Collum lost his patience and the first name in his book was Hibs new signing Gary Deegan, but the former Coventry midfielder could have few complaints after a trip on Templeton who was running clear on the half way line.

Two minutes later, Templeton took off on another hazy run, beating three Hibs players before being brought down outside the penalty box. After the foul had been given, Templeton kicked McPake in the ribs, but unbelievably the referee missed it and no action was taken, despite howls of protests from the Hibs supporters.

Hibs then started to dominate possession with Deegan controlling midfield alongside Paul Cairney, and Tim Clancy went close with a header before Hearts opened the scoring. John Sutton won a header which landed between Maybury and Williams. The experienced Irishman hesitated before deciding to head the ball back to the keeper, but Hearts winger Driver intercepted it and slotted the ball into the net.

Zaliukas then had a long range shot which went narrowly past the post, before Hibs fought back with a Cairney effort which was blocked by a defender inside the box.

On 34 minutes, Barr became the second name in the referee’s book after a foul on Maybury, and four minutes later, Leigh Griffiths almost equalised when he fired a thunderbolt which rebounded back off the upright.

This galvanised the Hibs fans who roared encouragement to their heroes. Maybury did well to stop Driver in the box just before Hibs equalised. David Wotherspoon calmly controlled a long diagonal pass, before sliding the ball to the unmarked Griffiths just inside the Hearts box. Jamie MacDonald tried to narrow the angle, but Griffiths calmly toe poked the ball between the keepers legs into the back of the net.

The referee blew for half time before the game could resume, and during the break, Hibs Gambian star Pa Kujabi told the Irish News Review: “We are definitely on top and playing well. I think this could be our day.”

The second half started where the first half left off, with play raging from end to end. Sutton won a header at the back post which McPake did well to clear.

Leigh Griffiths almost broke clear from the half way line, but his shot was blocked. Four minutes into the second half, Andy Webster was booked after scything down Eoin Doyle who reacted angrily.

Jorge Claros replaced Lewis Stevenson as Hibs continued to look the more likely team to score. Clancy’s long throws were causing the Hearts defenders problems and McPake twice went close with headers.

No quarter was being given by either team and Paul Cairney was physically sick in the centre circle.

Just after the hour mark, Griffiths did well to turn a Hearts defender in the box, but the striker mishit his shot which went past the post.

Teenager Ross Caldwell replaced Doyle as Hibs looked for a winner, and the youngster was immediately in the action when he clashed with Zaliukas resulting in the Hearts captain falling over the advertising boards. He was then booked for gesturing to the Hibs fans in the Famous Five Stand.

On 72 minutes, Griffiths beat two Hearts players bit was tackled before he could shoot and required treatment. He was replaced by Danny Handling and left the field to a deserved standing ovation.

While the Hibs midfield were winning the 50-50 balls, Hearts always looked dangerous on the break and Hanlon did well to stop Arvydas Novikovas with a last ditch tackle in the penalty box.

Hibs: Williams, Clancy, McPake, Hanlon, Maybury, Cairney, Stevenson, Deegan, Wotherspoon, Doyle, Griffiths. Subs: Antell, Caldwell, O’Hanlon, Stanton, Sproule, Claros Handling.

Hearts:  MacDonald, McHattie, Webster, McGowan, Barr, Templeton, Driver, Zaliukas, Patterson, Robinson, Sutton. Subs: Rigders, McGowan, Taouill, Grainger, Novikovas, Smith, Carrick

Attendance 12,887

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

Dundee United too strong for lacklustre Hibs

Dundee United easily won the battle of the Irishmen at Tannadice today, as goals from Johnny Russell, Jon Daly and Michael Gardyne were enough to take the three points against a below par Hibs side.

Seven Irish players started the game, Sean Dillon, Gavin Gunning, Willo Flood, Richie Ryan and Jon Daly for United and Tim Clancy and Eoin Doyle for Hibs.

Pat Fenlon kicked off the campaign with one change from the eleven who started last week’s friendly against Huddersfield, with summer signing Paul Cairney replacing Honduran international Jorge Claros in midfield.

Goalkeeper Ben Williams made his competitive debut in Scotland and found himself up against a familiar face in John Rankin. Both were at Manchester United together and have remained friends ever since.

Surprise package David Stephens who hardly figured in the team last year partnered captain James McPake in the centre of the defence, leaving Paul Hanlon at left back and new signing Tim Clancy on the right.

Ivan Sproule, David Wotherspoon, Lewis Stevenson, Paul Cairney and Eoin Doyle completed a five man midfield with Leigh Griffiths up front on his own.

Youngsters Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling who both scored during the pre-season tour had to be content with a place on the bench.

Manager Pat Fenlon was missing from the dugout after being suspended following a gesture made at the cup final and his place was taken by his assistant Liam O’Brien. New signing Gary Deegan was ineligible for the game and will join his new team-mates on Monday at the East Mains Training Ground and should feature in the derby against Hearts next Saturday.

During the warm up, referee Craig Thompson wisely kept away from the large Hibs travelling support who continued to abuse him throughout the game following his performance in the cup final when he wrongly awarded a penalty following a dive by Hearts winger Suso Santana.

United started brightly and had a penalty claim turned down in the first minute when Johnny Russell latched onto a poor header by Stephens but Williams cleared the danger.

Two minutes later, United took the lead as the Hibs defence failed to deal with a Barry Douglas cross. Jon Daly won the header which fell to Rankin. The ex Hibs man nodded the ball to Russell on the edge of the six yards box and the striker made no mistake and smashed the pall into the net. The visitors protested that Rankin had blocked Clancy in the run up to the goal, but Thompson ignored the appeals.

On eight minutes, Russell went close again with a long range shot was well saved by Williams, and Hibs struggled to get a foothold in the game.

Young winger Gary McKay Stevens was causing problems down the left wing, and the former Airdrie star went close with a long range effort which went narrowly past the post.

Wotherspoon did well to win a corner which fell to Griffiths but the strikers shot was blocked as Hibs fought back. Doyle then latched onto a long ball from Hanlon which he controlled on his chest his well struck shot went just past the upright. Wotherspoon sent Sproule clear, but no-one was in the box to meet the flying wingers cross.

Williams then showed why Pat Fenlon has so much confidence in his ability with a superb save from a Jon Daly header, turning the ball round the post for a corner.

Good work between Griffiths and Wotherspoon found Sproule free on the wing, but once again the wingers cross failed to find a green jersey.

Peter Houston was the happier manager when the half time whistle blew although he would have wondered why his team were only one ahead given their dominance. The touch line ban for Fenlon extended to the dressing room and it was left to O’Brien to give the half time team talk.

United replaced the injured Sean Dillon with former Preston player Brian McLean whilst Hibs kept the same eleven.

Johnny Russell should have doubled the home side’s lead shortly after the break when a great run and pass from McKay-Steven found the youngster unmarked in the box, but he rushed his shop and Williams was relieved to see the ball whistle past the post. Daly then went close with a shot which Williams did well to hold.

Mackay-Steven then showed some neat touches to dribble past Stephens but his cross failed to find the target.

Hibs fought back with some good interplay between Griffiths and Doyle but the Irishman’s through ball to Cairney was cleared for a corner. Despite the odd counter attack from Hibs, United continued to dominate possession. On 58 minutes youngster Danny Handling replaced Lewis Stevenson as Hibs changed to a more traditional 4-4-2 system with Handling joining Griffiths up front.

Griffiths was booked for a trip on Mackay-Steven, before United secured the points on 73 minutes with a Jon Daly header. Hanlon cleared a United free kick, but his header fell to the man of the match Mackay-Steven, and his cross was met by the giant Dubliner who nodded the ball into the net.

Mackay-Steven left the field to a standing ovation with ten minutes remaining and United claimed top spot in the league table when substitute Michael Gardyne found himself one on one with the keeper and calmly slotted the ball into the net.

Afterwards a dejected Pat Fenlon told BBC Scotland: “I’m disappointed more than angry. We’ll make changes after that performance, but there’s key areas in the team that we need to strengthen.”

“You spend days preparing your team and organising and you concede a goal after two or three minutes, It gives you a mountain to climb. I’m disappointed that they didn’t carry out what I asked them to carry out. That’s the major disappointment.

“The frustration of not being on the bench doesn’t help as well. We’ve released a lot of players since the end of last season and we need to bring players in. We’re a little bit short. .If you look at the striker options we had on the bench. We were able to bring on two kids and that’s really it. You need competition for places within your squad as well.”

Overall, a disappointing ninety minutes for Pat Fenlon’s men with only Williams, Cairney and Doyle gaining pass marks.

Hibs next fixture is against city rivals Hearts next Saturday.

Dundee United: Gierzniak, Watson, Dillon, Douglas, Gunning, Flood, Rankin, Ryan, MacKay-Stevens, Russell, Daly. Subs: Banks, McLean, Robertson, Millar, Armstrong, Gardyne, Dow

Hibs: Williams, Clancy, McPake, Stephens, Hanlon, Cairney, Stevenson, Sproule, Wotherspoon, Doyle, Griffiths. Subs: Antell, Caldwell, O’Hanlon, Booth, Pa Kujabi, Cairney, Handling.

Attendance 7267