Posts Tagged ‘ Jim Jeffries ’

Kyle On Hibs Radar As Fenlon Wants To Add Steel To Squad

Supporters on both sides of the Edinburgh divide were shocked to learn that former Hearts and Scotland star Kevin Kyle is on Pat Fenlon’s radar.

The talismanic centre forward whose contract at Tynecastle was terminated by mutual consent after he contracted a serious hip injury has revealed that he has been contacted by Hibs assistant manager Billy Brown on behalf of Fenlon to enquire about his fitness.

Brown, along with Jim Jeffries resurrected Kyle stalling career down south when they signed him for Kilmarnock where he was a success, scoring 16 times in 46 games.

When Jeffries and Brown moved to Hearts, they were quick to bring Kyle with them, and he soon won over the supporters with his robust style, particularly in derbies where he was a continual thorn in the side of the Hibs defence.

Whether Kyle will be able to overcome his injury problems remain to be seen, but fans hope that his link is an indication as to the type of player Fenlon is tracking.

The former Bohs boss told Hibs TV: “I just feel we’ve played second fiddle for too long and that we’ve been too nice as a team and as a club for a period of time. I think that needs to change. We need to stand up and be proud of what we are and get the club back to where it should be. It’s easy for me to sit here and talk to supporters and tell them that. It’s all about actions and not words.

“So we need to show them what we’re about; on the pitch and off it. There has been a massive turnover of players here in the last two or three seasons. We have to make sure that the ones that come in this time are the right ones that can improve the football club.

He added: “We’ve spoken to all the players at this stage. We’re talking to one or two in relation to maybe staying. That is all part of rebuilding and without going into giving people names, we just want to make sure we get the deals over the line and do it right.

“There is a lot going on at the moment in relation to players; be it current players, who are out of contract and players we’re chasing.”

With moral amongst the long suffering supporters at an all-time low after the disastrous 5-1 defeat to city rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final, Fenlon has assured the fans that he shared their pain.

“I’ve never felt as low in my life as I did when I left Hampden that day. It was a disaster. I knew we had let a lot of people down and it’s not nice to have that on your conscience.”

“I understand the frustration and disappointment of the supporters, but we need them to stick with us because we are trying to do things the right way and I think most of them understand that.”

Given the capitulation that day, the former Bohs boss was quick to point out that he was working to recruit new players who would made his side more difficult to intimidate.

“We’re working very hard to try and get the right type of player into the club. We want to put a bit of steel into the place, a bit of resolve, a little bit of nastiness, so we’re not easily turned over.

The Easter Road side return to training on 2 July and are quickly back in action, facing Rapid Bucharest  at the Grangemouth Stadium, home of Falkirk Juniors, nine days later, before  crossing the North Sea to face Belgium clubs Royal Charleroi on Wednesday, July 18, Leuven on July 21 and a Zealand Select the following day.

On their return, the team will play German outfit Union Berlin at Easter Road on Wednesday, July 25 (kick-off 7.45pm) and wrap up their preparation with the visit of English Championship side Huddersfield on Saturday, July 28 (kick-off 2.00pm).

Meanwhile a meeting held at Easter Road on Wednesday featuring supporters, board members and management with the objective to work in partnership to benefit the long term future of the Club.

Working groups are being set up over the summer to support management in creating a shared Club unity and vision, generating additional income to benefit Pat Fenlon’s player budget, improving supporter communications and gathering fans views on the big issues facing Scottish Football. Hibernian FC will assign senior staff to work with each of the groups. The supporters have been tasked with recruiting further volunteers over the forthcoming weeks.

One of those attending said “It’s not about individuals. Our aim was to attract fans with energy, time and talent from all corners of the Hibs support. The group at last week’s meeting was drawn from the Hibernian Supporters Association, Sect43, Hibs12thMan, Hibernians for Change, Hibs.Net, HibeesBounce, The Hibernians, the Disabled Supporters group, and others with no attachment other than being a supporter of Hibernian FC.

“Most of us are critical of the way the Club has gone backwards in recent seasons but as lifelong Hibbies we think it’s time to roll up our sleeves and work together to get this Club back where it belongs.”

David Forsyth, spokesman for Hibernian FC, said: “The ‘Let’s Work Together’ project grew out of the largest consultation process ever undertaken by the Club during the winter of 2011. A club questionnaire was followed by three successful supporters’ forums which led to some great ideas for improving the Club’s fortunes. A growing number of supporters have come forward since January to offer their time – on a voluntary basis – to help management turn these ideas into action.

The Club also welcomes a plan, announced last week by the Hibernian Supporters Association, to hold a series of consultation forums to engage their members in the process of working together.

Four goal Hibs ensure SPL safety

When then game kicked off, you could have cut the tension at Easter Road with a knife. Fifteen minutes later the fifteen thousand Hibs fans were wondering what the fuss had been about after Matt Doherty, Eoin Doyle and Garry O’Connor had fired Pat Fenlon’s men into a three goal lead. A second half Paul Hanlon volley which hit the underside of the bar and bounced out but was inexplicably given as a goal by the east stand linesman was enough to ensure SPL football in Leith next season, and send Jim Jeffries’ Dunfermline back to the first division.

Fenlon made three changes to the side which beat Aberdeen last Wednesday. Influential captain James McPake returned from injury and replaced goalscorer Sean O’Hanlon, whilst Lewis Stevenson replaced George Francomb and the suspended Leigh Griffiths was replaced by former Sligo Rovers striker Eoin Doyle.

Hibs got off to the perfect start after five minutes when Lewis Stevenson was fouled and the resultant free kick by Tom Soares was headed on by McPake to Matt Doherty who got away from his marker to head the ball past Smith in the Dunfermline goal.

Dubliner Doherty was the provider for the Hibs second goal after getting the break of the ball on the right and chipping across for Doyle to head home for his first SPL goal since joining the club in January.

On fifteen minutes, the home fans were ecstatic when Hibs were awarded a penalty after Austin McCann was adjudged to have fouled Paul Hanlon in the box. Garry O’Connor made no mistake from the spot and even the most optimistic Pars fan knew that their hopes of survival were gone.

Jim Jeffries men did fight back and made a few chances with Jordan McMillan bringing out a fine save from Mark Brown before the break.

Hibs continued where they had left off in the second half and Isaiah Osbourne laid the ball on a plate for Doyle to tap in but the unmarked striker completely missed the ball as it whizzed across the six-yard box.

A Doyle header was cleared off the line by Gary Mason before Hanlon’s well-struck volley hit the crossbar and clearly bounced down several inches in front of the line but to the amazement of the Dunfermline players, the linesman awarded a goal, sparking jubilation amongst the Hibs faithful.

After the game, a delighted Pat Fenlon said: “We were very good from start to finish. It’s a great relief for everyone at the club. We’ve got some really good players, we just need to get confidence in them and you can see that coming into them over a period of time and they’re gaining more confidence every time we play.”

Hibs: Brown, McPake, Kujabi, Hanlon, Doherty, Soares, Stevenson, Claros, Osbourne, Doyle, O’Connor, Subs Grant Sproule, Francombe, Murray, O’Donovan, O’Hanlon, Towell

Dunfermline: Smith,  McCann, Boyle  Dowie, McMillan, Kerr, Mason,Hardie, Hutton, Kirk,  Graham Subs  Fernandez, Young, Cardle, Willis, Dougal, Barrowman  Buchanan

Attendance  15,281

More Injury Problems for Fenlon Ahead of Aberdeen Clash

Pat Fenlon has been dealt another blow in the fight against relegation with the news that influential skipper James McPake missed training with a groin injury which makes him a major doubt for tonight’s crucial fixture against Aberdeen.

Rumours spread throughout the city to the effect that McPake would be out for the rest of the season, but the on-loan Coventry City star was quick to quash the speculation on Twitter where he revealed that although  he is doubtful for the Pittodrie trip, he hopes to be fit for the crucial relegation battle Dunfermline game next Monday.

Fenlon is also sweating on the fitness of top goal-scorer Garry O’Connor who missed Sunday’s defeat at St Mirren through illness. The Scotland international striker has scored 15 times since his summer move from Birmingham City, and his presence would be a major boost for the club who have seen their seven point lead over Dunfermline evaporate to three in the past fortnight.

Speaking on Hibs TV ahead of the Aberdeen fixture, Fenlon said: “Garry had been sick for a couple of days but I do not know if he will be ready for Wednesday. We could do with him being fit. We’ll check on him today but we’ll have to wait and see. James McPake didn’t do too much today due to a groin problem. So again we will see how he is tomorrow.

“Danny Galbraith is out for the rest of the season and will undergo an exploratory operation later this week and Lewis Stevenson is suspended.

“But everyone else is fit and available for the match. One or two players will get an opportunity to play and it’s like with everything they will need to take that chance.

“There are a lot of big games left to play and they’ve got to try to get into the team. We need to be more clinical in front of goal and also better defensively. It’s sometimes difficult after losing a game to retain your belief, but there were a lot of positives we can take from both the Kilmarnock and St Mirren games.

We’ve got to make sure we go to Pittodrie and win the game. We’ve played Aberdeen three times since I’ve been here and there has been very little in all of those games. We need to be as good as we were and also get the rub of the green.

“I was disappointed with the result against St Mirren, but pleased with the performance, I thought we did enough to win the game, it was a bit like last week, our goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make.”

Pars boss Jim Jeffries claims that Hibs are favourites to beat the drop despite recent form, which saw his team come back from 4-2 down to snatch a late point against St Mirren then comprehensively beat Aberdeen to give the fans their first home victory of the season. Dunfermline take on Inverness Caledonian at the Tullochs Caledonian Stadium tonight, but whatever the result is up north, the stage is set for a massive game between the relegation candidates at Easter Road next Monday which could decide the fate of both clubs for next season.

Meanwhile, a young Hibs team won the East of Scotland Shield after defeating Hearts on penalties.

Hearts win helps Hibs in relegation battle

It’s not every day that the green half of Edinburgh celebrates a Hearts victory, but there were extenuating circumstances at East End Park yesterday. With the Gorgie men fielding a weakened team ahead of next week’s semi-final against newly crowned champions Celtic, many Hibs fans feared the worst, but the Jim Jefferies factor failed to take effect, and despite a late rally, the Pars lost 2-1.

Yesterday’s result leaves Hibs knowing that victory today against Euro hopefuls Motherwell could be enough to, all but guarantee SPL status next season. Manager Pat Fenlon is taking nothing for granted however and wants to see his players continue with the belief they showed last weekend against Inverness, and not let their minds wander to next week’s semi-final against Aberdeen.

Fenlon told Hibs TV: “Since I’ve been here, we’ve had a game abandoned and lost 4-3 against Motherwell, so it’s been eventful– that’s for certain. But in both games we haven’t had the rub of the green, so maybe we’re due a little bit of fortune. Maybe it will be a case of third time lucky when we play them on Sunday. But we’re going to have to play well. They are a decent side – their league position tells you that and they’ve had a fantastic season. I’m sure they will want to continue that and get a European spot and put pressure on Rangers for second. It is going to be tough, but we’re looking forward to it and we will be aiming to carry the belief that we showed last week up at Inverness into the game.

“To me, tomorrow is a much bigger game than next week. The three points tomorrow are massive for us at this stage of the season and it’s really important that we get the win. Whatever happens the following week will happen.

“If we can get to the cup final it will be a massive plus for everyone involved with the club in every way, financially and for the players and supporters, but making sure we pick up league points is really where it’s at for us right now.”

Fellow Dubliner Matt Doherty is desperate to make amends for his last performance against the Steelmen earlier in the season at Fir Park. The on-loan full back said: We played against them away from home earlier in the season and that was a different experience altogether. We were a goal up in the first half and probably finding it relatively easy at the point, but then it just exploded in the second half.

“We ended up losing the match 4-3, and if it hadn’t been for my mistakes we probably would have won the game. I had a bit of a nightmare and we conceded two penalties because of it. But we’ve got to take the positives and the fact that we managed to score three goals against them should give us some encouragement going into Sunday in any case.

“Motherwell are a good team and they’re fighting for second place, never mind third in the league, so we know how difficult it will be.

“I got back into the team in the last couple of weeks, and it is obviously more enjoyable when you’re involved, rather than sitting on the side-lines waiting for your chance. But it’s a great place to be involved. The rest of the lads are great and it is always a pleasure to go into training.

“I have played centre back for Hibs and then I was moved to right-back, which is my main position. Now that I have been involved there I want to stay in the right-back slot and hopefully I will get a chance to do that”.

Doherty, who never played a competitive game for Bohemians before impressing Mick McCarthy in a pre-season friendly against Wolves, has been quick to praise his new team mates despite the negative reporting in the press. “Everyone in there is pretty confident in how they feel and what they want; there’s no group of people looking down on you because they think they’re more experienced or whatever. Everyone is just in one big unit and happy to work together to make sure the team stays up. It’s quite a good environment when you consider that a lot of us have only come into the team this season.

“A lot of us arrived at the start of the season and many went straight into the starting line-up. We started off well and managed to get a few results under our belts before it all started to fall away. But I think that everyone has gelled well now and we’re really starting to play like a team – and that’s got to be expected when you have so many new faces.

“At the end of the day, we’re all professionals and we’re paid to play in a team. It’s up to us to work hard to make sure that happens.

“It’s coming to the end of the season, there are not that many games left and there are a lot of bad things being written in the press by former players or whatever, so we’re taking quite a bit of stick.”

Sunday’s game will be shown live on ESPN with a 12.30 kick off.

Fenlon denies headbutt claim

Pat Fenlon has strenuously denied media reports that he was headbutted by on loan striker Leigh Griffiths at the East Mains Training Ground yesterday.

Several Scottish newspapers reported that Griffiths had taken exception to comments made by Fenlon after a stormy training session following Hibs latest derby day defeat by Edinburgh rivals Hearts. Griffiths was reported to have headbutted Fenlon then punched assistant manager Billy Brown who had interjected, before storming off.

Speculation was rife that he had played his last game for the club and was en route back to Wolverhampton, but Fenlon played down the incident, and told the club’s official website that it had been “typical training ground stuff”, adding “I’m surprised at the rubbish in the press.”

Fenlon said: “As is usual for high-tempo training sessions, involving committed players and coaching staff, robust views and opinions are shared and yesterday’s session was no different.

“Leigh is a quality striker and a lively personality and will remain a key part of my team for the rest of the season.

“There’s nothing at all in the story. We just want to focus on winning games and getting up the table.”

A statement on the club’s website states: Hibernian has moved to address erroneous press reports regarding an alleged incident involving Leigh Griffiths at Hibernians Training Centre yesterday.

Contrary to a report in today’s Daily Mail, Leigh Griffiths did not headbutt Manager Pat Fenlon nor punch Assistant Manager Billy Brown. The striker will be in the squad for Saturday’s crucial SPL fixture against Dundee United.

The Scotland under 21 international has been no stranger to controversy since his arrival at his boyhood club. Last December he received a ban following a gesture at Rangers fans during Hibs’ 2-0 defeat, then the following month he repeated the gesture to Hibs fans during the Scottish Cup win at Cowdenbeath. Two weeks later, Griffiths received another two-match suspension for a one-finger salute at a Hibs fan who had been shouting abuse from the Famous Five stand during Hibs’ 3-2 defeat by St Johnstone.

The Hibs board are concerned about the reputation of the club and are likely to take  such behaviour seriously. During pre-season, midfielder Martin ‘Jimmy’ Scott was disciplined by the club following a training ground bust up with Sean Welsh who suffered a fractured cheekbone.

Meanwhile fellow relegation candidates Dunfermline have announced that former Hearts manager Jim Jeffries will take charge at East End Park on a 15 month rolling contract. The Fife outfit currently sit four points behind Hibs with eight games to play.

Hibs players have taken to Twitter to give their version of accounts.

Captain @JamesMcPake tweeted “Have to laugh at the story that came out about our training yesterday! Not 1 part of it was true or near the truth!! Especially liked the part that Leigh sped off from the training centre with all the stuff from his locker? Sped away…He doesn`t drive! ”

@francomb_28 tweeted “Dont know where that story came from today but it was so far from the truth you have to laugh really #embarrassing.”

Avoiding relegation top priority says Fenlon after derby defeat

A Craig Beattie toe-poke and an injury time break away goal from Suso Santana was enough to see Hearts extend their unbeaten run in the Edinburgh derby to ten games, in a hard fought encounter at Tynecastle.

Pat Fenlon made two changes from the side which eased past Ayr last week, with Tom Soares replacing Ivan Sproule and David Wotherspoon taking over from Isaiah Osbourne. Hearts replaced the suspended Marius Zaliukas with Darren Barr.

Fenlon fielded six players who had not experienced the derby atmosphere, and that number increased to seven when George Francomb suffered a head injury in a clash with Rudi Skacel after seven minutes and had to be replaced by Dubliner Matt Doherty.

Hearts started brightly and could have gone ahead with an Ian Black free-kick which was deflected just over the bar, before an Andy Webster header was saved on the line by Graham Stack. Hibs only chance came from a good run by Pa Kujabi whose cross was just missed by Soares.

Hearts took the lead after 27 minutes when former Celtic forward Beattie latched onto an Ian Black pass  to toe-poke the ball past Graham Stack.

Hibs started the second half in much better form and Doherty caused the Hearts defence problems from two set pieces, before referee Craig Thomson infuriated the 1874 Hibs fans in the Roseburn stand by ignoring two blatant fouls on Pa Kujabi and Roy O’Donovan.

As the Easter Road men strived for an equaliser, only the legs of keeper McDonald denied O’Donovan with a point blank header.

Gary O’Connor replaced Wotherspoon and Eoin Doyle replaced fellow countryman O’Donovan, but neither were able to make the desired impact.

With the game in the last minute of injury time, Hibs won a corner which Pa Kujabi floated into the box. The ball was cleared and Santana took advantage of the lack of defenders to side foot the ball past Stack, to the delight of the Gorgie faithful.

Today’s result leaves Fenlon’s men 4 points ahead of Dunfermline with eight games remaining. The Fife outfit sacked manager Jim McIntyre on Friday and hope to announce a new boss before their next game against St Mirren next week, with speculation centring on former Hearts boss Jim Jeffries who was in the stand today.

With Hearts in the top six and Hibs stranded near the bottom, the sides will not meet again in the SPL this season, although there is the possibility that they could face each other at Hampden in the Scottish Cup Final.

After the game, a dejected Pat Fenlon admitted his team had not deserved to win, but claimed that avoiding relegation was his top priority.

The former Bohemians manager said: I’m disappointed, we didn’t start the game. We were never at the game in the first half and we gave Hearts too much respect and too much time on the ball. The second half was a bit better but the game could have been over by half-time.

“We knew coming here that we were fighting for our lives and we hadn’t won a derby in a long time, we should have been in about Hearts and in their faces from the start, but we weren’t.

“I feel for the supporters today, I know what it’s like, but it’s now about survival for the club and we can rectify the situation against Hearts another day – but we need to make sure we’re in the league to play against them next season.”

Hearts:  MacDonald, Grainger, Webster, McGowan, Barr, Black, Driver, Taouil, Skacel, Beattie, Elliott.  Subs: Rigders, McGowan, Santana, Holt, Novikovas, Glen, Robinson.

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

Referee Craig Thomson

Attendance 15,128