Posts Tagged ‘ Liam O`Brien ’

Reasons For Liam O’Brien’s Departure From Hibs Revealed


Liam O’Brien left Hibs for family reasons, the club announced yesterday, quashing rumours and speculation amongst supporters following his departure in the summer.

Following  the recent  meeting between Chairman Rod Petrie and a number of invited representatives from various supporters groups, an issue was raised regarding the changes in back-room staff at the club, and in  response, a statement was published on the official website highlighting the changes that have taken place. Continue reading

Fenlon Happy With Europa League Draw


Hibs boss Pat Fenlon is happy with the Europa League draw which sees the club face either a trip to the Republic of Ireland to face Drogheda United or Sweden to face former European Cup finalists Malmo.

After yesterday’s draw, the former Bohs’ manager told Hibernian TV “It’s not a bad draw from a logistical point of view. Our worst case scenario would’ve been to travel halfway around the world for one of the games. Continue reading

Gary Deegan Continues Injury Comeback

photo (2) (1) Gary Deegan played 85 minutes of Hibs’ under 20’s match against Ross County today at Ainslie Park and came through unscathed despite being forced to leave the field for treatment in the first half after being elbowed in the face during a challenge.

Thankfully, after a couple of minutes, he returned to the action and showed no ill effects, guaranteeing that he will be in the squad for the game against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday.

Hibs fielded a strong team against Ross County, with several players who have already made their first team debuts, including Scott Smith, Sammy Stanton, Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling in the starting line-up.

Ross County fielded former Hearts striker Gary Glen.

Scotland Under 21 manager Billy Stark was in the stand, along with former Hibs Assistant Manager Donald Park and former Sunderland Manager Ricky Sbragia.
Hibs Assistant Manager Liam O’Brien and Goalkeeping coach Scott Thompson also took in the game and were joined by former Hibs captain and new Dumbarton Manager Ian Murray. Pat Fenlon turned up at half time.

In a hard fought encounter, County took the lead on the half hour mark, but a few minutes later Hibs equalised through Ewan Smith after good work from Sammy Stanton.

Both teams had chances to win the game, but in the end a draw was probably a fair result.

The match practice puts Deegan into contention for a starting place for the weekend’s fixture, and the Irishman is determined to feature in the New Year’s derby at Tynecastle.

He said: “It’ll take a bit of game time to get back into the rhythm of things. The fans can’t expect too much. I have to feel my way back into the team. I know I can do a job. I experienced the atmosphere of the derby in my first game and want to do it again. There’s one just round the corner so hopefully I’ll feature.”

Griffiths’ double secures victory over St Mirren

A Leigh Griffiths double and a penalty save by Ben Williams was enough to secure a well-deserved three points for Hibs at New St Mirren Park today.  Steven Thomson pulled one back for the Buddies, but the Easter Road men held on to grab the victory.

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon made one enforced change to the team that drew with Hearts last Sunday with Lewis Stevenson who broke his toe in that game replaced by Jorge Claros. New signing Shefki Kuqi had to settle for a place on the bench.

St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin who was a transfer target for Hibs last season returned to the first team after his two game suspension.

Just under one thousand Hibs fans travelled through to Paisley in a confident mood after last week’s performance despite the fact that St Mirren were top of the league.

Hibs kicked off in windy conditions wearing green shorts and socks to add to their traditional green and white top.

Fenlon returned to the dug-out alongside assistant manager Liam O’Brien after his two game ban for gestures to Hearts fans during the cup final. The home dug-out contained a couple of ‘weel kent’ faces for the Hibs supporters with former players Danny Lennon and Tommy Craig.

After five minutes, Paisley born Paul Cairney had a long range shot which went narrowly past the post, as the visitors started to dominate possession. Tim Clancy in particular was causing problems for the Saints defence down the right wing.

Fenlon’s men took a well-deserved lead after 15 minutes, when Leigh Griffiths latched onto a superb through ball from David Wotherspoon. The on-loan star beat Darren McGregor on the outside and hammered the ball into the corner of the net past Craig Samson to the delight of the travelling support.

Three minutes later, Clancy went close with a free kick and Griffiths hit the side netting with a well struck shot from inside the box.

The Hibs players were hunting in packs and refusing to allow the Saints’ players any time on the ball, and Clancy again went close with a flicked header from a Wotherspoon corner.

Two minutes later however,  St Mirren were awarded a penalty against the run of play when the ball struck James McPake’s arm, but’ Big Ben’ Williams spared his captain’s blushes with an excellent diving save to deny Paul McGowan.

Samson kept his side in the game with a stunning save from a Gary Deegan header as Hibs pressed at every opportunity. Just before halftime, good interplay between Wotherspoon and Deegan resulted in Maybury sending over a cross which just eluded Eoin Doyle with the goal gaping.

St Mirren replaced Irishmen Graham Carey and Jim Goodwin with Gary Teale and Jon Robertson at half time as Fenlon understandably kept with the players who had done so well in the first half.

Lennon’s men came out with a more determined attitude and McGowan was unlucky with a long range shot which flew just past Williams’ post, but Hibs responded with a Doyle snapshot which went narrowly over the bar after a Cairney tackle rebounded to the former Sligo player who was unmarked in the box.

The Buddies responded and were given an undeserved free kick when Clancy was wrongly adjudged to have fouled Dougie Imrie. From the free kick, Williams clashed with McGregor which resulted in the Saints’ being stretchered off and replaced by David Barron.

Hibs doubled their lead on the hour mark after great skill by Eoin Doyle who beat his marker and found Griffiths in the box. The on form striker made no mistake, spinning round 180 degrees before striking the pall low last Samson into the right hand corner of the net for his third goal of the season.

Both Doyle and Griffiths were booked for jumping over the advertising boards to celebrate with the ecstatic Hibs fans, but their joy was short lived however as St Mirren relied immediately when a Dougie Imrie pass found Steven Thomson at the back post and the former Scotland striker hammered the ball low into the centre of the goal catching the Hibs defence sleeping.

Referee Stevie McLean managed to keep his cards in his pocket as both teams were guilty of some robust challenges. St Mirren desperately tried to get back into the game as Hibs were having problems getting out of their own half.

Cairney was brought down by Imrie and Griffiths smashed the resultant free kick against the crossbar. This was Cairney last part in the game as he was replaced with Ivan Sproule with fifteen minutes remaining.

Williams then made a great save to deny Thomson, and Imrie’s corner went harmlessly out of play for a goal kick to relieve the pressure.

Hibs hit on the counter and Sproule was brought down by Kenny McLean who received a yellow card for the incident.

With eight minutes remaining, Doyle was replaced by new signing Shefki Kuqi who was in the action immediately, closing down the St Mirren defenders.

With St Mirren pressing for an equaliser, Kuqi did well to hold the ball up before finding Sproule. The flying winger found Griffiths through on goal, but he was unable to get his hat-trick, and just missed the target.

Ross Caldwell replaced the tired Griffiths who received a standing ovation from the travelling support.

The fourth official indicated six minutes of injury time which was greeted by a load cheer from the Paisley fans, as Hibs desperately tried to hold on for the three points.

St Mirren had three corners in this period, but the defence held firm, with McPake and Deegan both making last ditch blocks to prevent the Buddies getting a point.

After the game, a delighted Pat Fenlon told BBC Scotland Sportsound: “We passed the ball really well in the first half and could have went in at half time a little bit more ahead.

“We dug in and we hadn’t had that before. We’ve showed a lot of character in the last couple of weeks.”

When asked about Leigh Griffiths’ performance, Fenlon said:

“Leigh’s a player all right. I haven’t seen a better finisher than him. He was a live wire today.  If he keeps playing like that it will be hard to keep him. He’s got potential, there’s no doubt about that, we all know that. He’s working hard on the other stuff off the pitch and once he’s gets rid of that, he’s got more ability than a lot of players I’ve seen.

“His work rate is fantastic and that’s the annoying thing. He’s a great kid, but he gets himself into a little bit bother off the pitch, but on it and in training he’s fantastic.

“We got a bit of luck today that we haven’t had before. We could have won the game last week against Hearts. We’ve seen today they type of team we have. We can pass it and we can play and we can defend and be difficult to beat. The leagues very competitive as we seen today but we still need a couple more. Today we didn’t have a midfielder on the bench so we are a little bit short.

“The supporters have been fabulous  since I’ve been here and I’ve said it before that it’s up to us to get the ones that have lapsed and gone away to get them back in. I’ve been talking to supporters since last week and they have seen a bit of fight and desire and drive and they feel that’s been lacking over the last few years.”

St Mirren: Samson,  McGregor,  Mair, McAusland, Goodwin, McGowan, Carey,  Mclean,  Imrie, Thompson, Parkin. Subs Smith, van Zanten,  Barron, Robertson, Teale, Smith, McGinn

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

Attendance 5039

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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

Fenlon Issues Rallying Call To Hibs Fans

On the day that Hibs launched their new home strip for next season, boss Pat Fenlon has issued a rallying call to all fans, urging them to increase his budget by buying a season ticket. The club has promised that all money raised by the sale of season tickets will be given to the manager to improve the squad, but numbers to date have been disappointing.

Last season, the board allowed existing season ticket holders to only buy one ticket for the cup final, unless they renewed, whilst new season ticket holders would also be allowed to purchase one. Club members who paid £20 to register and were given a free ticket to an SPL fixture were also entitled to buy one and this caused some resentment from a number of fans who felt they were being blackmailed into renewing.

Rumours that Hibs had sold over 11,000 season tickets for the current campaign however were quashed at a recent meeting between fans and the board when the directors admitted that the numbers were 2,000 down on last years’ figure of 7,000.

Fenlon confirmed this in a message on the club’s website as he pleaded for fans to back his plans to return the club to the top end of the league.

Fenlon has admitted that 2,500 have so far not renewed, reducing his budget by nearly £600k and limiting the number and quality of players he can entice to Easter Road. So far, only Trim born Tim Clancy has arrived from Motherwell to replace former Bohemians full back Matt Doherty who returned to Wolves after his loan spell ended.

Fenlon said: “This summer has already seen the landscape of Scottish football change and we are working harder than ever to make sure we transform the results of Hibernian for the better. Our thanks go to everyone who has already shown their commitment to the club by investing in a 2012/13 Season Ticket Membership; your actions have been greatly appreciated.

“So far this summer we’ve managed to get one of my top signing targets over the line with the arrival of Tim Clancy.  But there is much more left to do on the transfer front and now we need the backing of our supporters more than ever.

“We are a club that tries to do things the right way; we don’t spend money that we don’t have. Given the uncertainty surrounding the SPL for next season, we certainly can’t spend what we don’t have and simply cross our fingers in hope that it will come later.

“My budget for next season is based on Season Tickets actually sold, not what we might sell. I know that I will get access to every single penny that comes into the club through new Season Ticket sales. So the commitment and faith of our supporters will determine just how much I have to spend on players ahead of the new season.

“Thanks to all of those, who were able to and have bought a Season Ticket for next season. We hope that the 2,500 Season Ticket Members from last season, who have still yet to commit will renew in good time and we would welcome them back.

“I know there are lots of seats at Easter Road Stadium. But we cannot make binding commitments to players hoping that there will be a decent walk up.

“Please don’t wait to see what will happen or who we will sign, you can make an immediate impact on my transfer budget by investing now on a Season Ticket.

“I’m excited about what we can achieve here at Hibernian and we want our supporters to share those aspirations; working together to achieve the same goal. After some hard times, we’re confident about what can be achieved in the future. We want to be a club that you can be proud of, one that goes about its business professionally and acts with integrity.

“It’s a summer of change in Scottish football and a summer of change at the club. I need your help to rebuild and reshape our squad. Your commitment can and does make a huge impact on how we move forward as a club.

“Do we have ambition? Yes, absolutely. Do we have a war chest of money to spend on players? No. But we do plan to use our funds wisely to assemble a squad that is more than competitive next season. The funding provided by Season Ticket Members will go a long way to changing the dynamics of our squad.

“We no longer want to be seen as a soft touch. We want players wearing the Hibernian jersey, who are willing to give everything to the club and that excite our supporters.

“We want strong-minded players, who will play their part in improving the team – showing the right attitude and application. Representing the club the right way and connecting with the Easter Road crowd.

“To everyone who is undecided, I would say please don’t wait to see what will happen or who we will sign. You can make an immediate impact on my transfer budget by investing now on a Season Ticket Membership.  This summer we want to change our fortunes for the better and we need our supporters on board for the journey ahead.”

Over one hundred fans queued in the rain to get their hands on the new top which was unveiled at the club shop at midday. The top is manufactured by Puma and is a modern interpretation of the original bottle green worn by players before the change to the lighter emerald green in the 1930s. The jersey continues to bare the name of last season’s sponsors; Leith based company Crabbies who sell alcoholic ginger beer.

When the shutters went up, the general opinion amongst the supporters was positive, and an improvement on last years ‘down the slope’ design.  Within half an hour, the shop was full as customers continued to arrive.

Meanwhile, Hibs have announced the departure of assistant manager Billy Brown and director Fife Hyland with immediate effect. This is likely to result in Liam O’Brien taking over as Fenlon’s number two for next season.

Hibs Irish contingent determined to reward fans with cup win

As Hibs prepare for arguably the biggest game in their history, the Irish contingent at Easter Road are determined to do everything in their power to bring the Scottish Cup back to Leith for the first time since 1902. Pat Fenlon insists that no team managed by him will ever be bullied, First team coach Liam O’Brien claims that the current players deserve their place in the final and striker Eoin Doyle believes that the happiest Irishman this week will be Ryanair owner Michael O’Leary given the number of seats booked by his friends and family.

Speaking from Tolka Rovers ground where the squad have been put through their paces, the former Bohs manager said; “We’ve got to get confidence into them and the belief that we can go and compete with anyone, I’ve said it before, if we play well on the day we can compete with any team. We can match most teams when we play well. It is just important that we believe that.

“We’ve got some really good players at the club. The boys that have come in on loan have given us a lift. We’ve got some good young players who are starting to come back into a bit of form. You can see the confidence coming back into them.

“We have confidence and we don’t fear anyone. As long as I am the manager, we won’t be bullied by anybody. I think that’s happened too many times with Hibs in Hearts games. We’ve just got to make sure we compete and give our best.”

“I’d like to win the cup but I think that’s for other people to enjoy themselves and celebrate on the day. If it happens, it will be a great moment for everyone associated with the club. But from my point of view, it is about trying to bring the club back to where it belongs. That would be a big stepping stone towards doing that.”

Fenlon’s views were echoed by First Team Coach Liam O’Brien who has hit back at suggestions that the players do not deserve to go down in history as legends, particularly given the number of on-loan signings in the team and the poor league form this season.

The former Manchester United, Newcastle United and Republic of Ireland star said: “There are plenty of players and managers, who have never got to a Cup final, never had the chance to win it, but these lads have an opportunity to make history and I hope that will happen.

“It hasn’t happened for all those great players down through the years but now history can be written and these players have earned the right to be there. You can only beat what is put in front of you and that’s what they have done in every round, so they deserve to be in the final.”

“Our main aim when we came in was to keep the club in the SPL and we managed to do that. We’ve had a fantastic run to get to the final which is a massive achievement. The way the season has gone for us no-one would have predicted that but now we could cap it off by turning what has been a really poor season into a fantastic one.”

O’Brien revealed that it didn’t take long to discover Hibs deplorable cup record after arriving at Easter Road.  He said: “We were asked to do a job and a week later you are told the last time Hibs won the Cup Jesus Christ was wearing short trousers. It’s been a long time, you hear it every week but now there’s a great chance for us. It’s a game of football, there’s 90 minutes to win it and that’s what we will be telling them. I think it’s gripped the imagination of everyone. It’s great for the city of Edinburgh but unfortunately one of us is going to be unhappy come Saturday night. Hopefully it won’t be Hibs.”

Meanwhile former Sligo Rovers hitman Eoin Doyle, who has played in the last three Irish Cup finals, winning the previous two on penalties, insists that it’s the result that counts, not the manner of the victory.

Doyle said: “Obviously the club itself has that connection to Ireland and formed before Celtic. As such there is a following for Hibs in any case. But a good few of the reporters who turned up had reported on us when we’d played in the League of Ireland and the fact we’re now looking to play in the Scottish Cup final has created a great deal of interest.”

Twenty-eight of Doyle’s friends and family have found tickets, booked flights and hotels and are hoping to celebrate a famous victory at Hampden. “I think all of us have quite a few coming over, probably enough to fill a couple of Ryanair flights. They’ve all got their tickets and flights booked and are looking forward to it.

“But I’m sure there would be a few empty seats going back on Sunday if we win; they’ll all want to stay for a party.”

“In a cup final anything can happen. I’ve won the cup in Ireland being both favourites and underdogs so it doesn’t matter when it comes to the day; it all goes out of the window.

“It’s you against them and to me it’s a case of whoever wants it more on the day and I’m sure that will be us. Cup finals are sometimes not the greatest of games to watch, it’s a matter of getting through it and hoping you can nick the goal.

“What we do know is it’s going to be a massive occasion, the first all-Edinburgh derby in how long and there’s obviously the history at this club of not having won it for 110 years. We also know we could forever be part of club folklore if we do win.

“I think everyone is dreaming of scoring the winner; even Mark Brown our goalie threw his name into the hat at one point. But who scores doesn’t matter so long as we do it.”

“The first year I played in the final we were beaten by Sporting Fingal. I’d scored but they got two in the last six minutes. The next one was the very first game in the new Aviva Stadium which was something special as was the match itself. It ended 0-0 against Shamrock Rovers but we won 2-0 on penalties with our goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly saving four of their spot-kicks. And last November we were drawing 1-1 with Shelbourne Rovers when Ciaran came on for the last couple of minutes and then went on to save two more penalties as we won 4-1 (in the shoot-out).

“Winning on penalties didn’t belittle either of those victories in any way. I don’t care how we win; it’s the name that’s engraved on the trophy, not the way it’s won.”

The 24 year old will probably start on the bench with on-form Leigh Griffiths and Garry O’Connor likely to start the game, but his performance and goal against Dunfermline has given Fenlon something to think about. Whether he features or not, Doyle has more than played his part in the historic cup run, with a goal in the 3-2 win at Cowdenbeath and the only goal of the game against Kilmarnock. As Fenlon’s first signing Doyle believes that things are definitely looking up at Easter Road since the January transfer window.

He said: “I think the team has developed massively, a lot of boys have come in and a few left but we have progressed over the last month or two. It’s all starting to come together and we’ll be going into the final with a bit of confidence.

“The gaffer had been talking of making sure we stayed in the SPL, getting to the cup final has been a bonus and to win it would be a great achievement.”