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Posts Tagged ‘ Mark Brown ’

Malonga Double Secures Quarter Final Spot For Hibs

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Two goals from Hibs’ new signing Dominique Malonga secured a hard fought League Cup victory against Ross County in Dingwall last night

Both sides went into the game on a poor run of form with County stranded at the foot of the Premiership and Hibs sitting seventh in the Championship.

Head Coach Alan Stubbs brought back skipper Liam Craig into the starting line up along with Liam Fontaine, replacing Jake Sinclair and Matt Kennedy. Continue reading

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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 takes Leigh Griffiths back on loan

Photograph from Hibs TV

Pat Fenlon has made Leigh Griffiths his fifth signing of the summer, after Hibs and Wolves agreed that the 21 year old could return on loan to Easter Road at least until January.

Grifffiths has flown out to Holland to join up with the squad during their pre-season tour and may play a part in tonight’s game against Juliper League side OH Leuven.

He has been a lifelong Hibs supporter, and scored 11 goals during his loan spell last season.

Whilst his ability has never been in doubt, the Scotland Under 21 international’s fiery temper saw him suspended after making gestures at both opposition and Hibs fans.

His last game was the cup final, and he left Hampden insisting that his immediate future was in the Midlands, however Wolves new  manager Stale Solbakken has made it clear that he is not in his plans, leaving the field clear for Fenlon to swoop.

The news has been greeted warmly by the majority of fans on the Hibs forums who have been desperate to see another striker to team up with Eoin Doyle and Ross Caldwell.

Meanwhile, former goalkeeper Mark Brown has played a trial for Southend United, suggesting that he will not be accepting Hibs offer which remains on the table. Youngster Calum Antwell has agreed a one year contract and is likely to be back up for Ben Williams.

The under 20 squad brought some good news for the club by winning the Foyle Cup  following a 1-0 victory over Ballymena United at Ardmore.

Striker Jay Doyle scored the only goal of the game bring the trophy to Easter Road.

Head of Academy Coaching James McDonaugh was delighted with the team’s performances. He told Hibs TV:  “Everyone has played their part in this success and we are delighted to bring the Foyle Cup back.

“The players gave it their all, playing a decent and entertaining brand of football, but it was their bravery, determination and desire which shone out above everything else.

“We defended brilliantly and looked capable of scoring a few more. Really pleased with how the whole squad contributed to a successful tournament.”

Hibs unveil new signing Ben Williams

Hibs paraded their fourth summer signing today as former Manchester United and Colchester goalkeeper Ben Williams joined the club on a two year deal.

The 29 year old was introduced at a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game against Rapid Bucharest, although he will not take part due to a lack of match fitness.

Williams said that he has heard good things about the club from former team-mates John Rankin and Darren Fletcher, and is delighted to join Pat Fenlon’s men. Although he was paraded with the number one jersey, he admits that he has not been guaranteed a place in the team, and manager Pat Fenlon confirmed that the offer to out of contract Mark Brown remains on the table.

Williams spent four years at Old Trafford which included several loan spells at Coventry City and Chesterfield and Crewe Alexander. At United, he was third choice behind Tim Howard and Roy Carroll although his time did overlap with Fabien Barthez and Mark Bosnich limiting his chances.

Although he never made a first team appearance for Manchester United, he was on the bench for two Champion’s League games and several Premier League matches, before deciding to leave to gain more experience.

He then spent four years with Crewe Alexander before moving to Carlisle on a Bosman free transfer. He spent a year with the Cumbria club before signing for Paul Lambert’s Colchester United for a reported £60,000, where he became a fan’s favourite winning three Player of the Season Awards at, including both the home and away player of the year awards as voted for by fans and also the Official Player of the Year Award.

The 6ft tall keeper revealed that he chose Hibs despite interest from Championship sides as he wants regular first team football. He told Hibs TV :”This is a new chapter in my career and I’m aiming to play my part in helping Hibernian to achieve success. I’m 29 now and I’m about to enter my peak years as a goalkeeper – I’m looking forward to experiencing that time in my career with Hibernian.

“This was probably the biggest decision of my career so far, but I believe it’s the right choice and I’m excited about the challenge ahead. From what I already know about Scottish football, Hibernian are a club with passionate supporters, a lot of history and an impressive stadium

Manager Pat Fenlon said the he was “delighted” with the signing.  He said “I’ve been working away at it for a while and it’s great to get another one over the line. It was vitally important that we got a goalkeeper in and an experienced one as well and he fits the bill for what we are looking for. He’s an experienced player and has played a lot of games and the type of character he is as well. He’s a decent goalkeeper who has played at a very good standard. I actually watched him when I was the manager at Bohs and a few times last season.”

Williams’ arrival does not mean the end for Mark Brown who ended the season as first choice goalkeeper, and Fenlon confirmed that he is still hopeful that he will remain at the club.

“We’ve spoken to Mark (Brown) over the last two or three weeks and that’s on-going and it’s now at the stage of the agent talking to the board so we will have to wait and see.”

The manager also revealed that the reason for the departure of last year’s assistant manager Bill Brown was entirely down to finance. He said “When I came in Billy was fantastic and was a tremendous help to me last season but it’s just something that we couldn’t do. You work with people day to day and build up a relationship so it (breaking the news) was a hard thing to do. There was nothing personal in it but you have to make the best decisions on behalf of the club.”

He also revealed that he has not watched the cup final and has no intention of doing so. For him it was a shame that the season didn’t end with the 4-0 victory in front of a packed Easter Road which ensured SPL survival, and would have left the fans with a feel good factor over the summer months, but the cup final defeat meant that did not happen.

He is aware that improvements are required and that another bottom six season is unacceptable.

“Everybody talks about Hibs being a big club but we have to go and prove that and that’s what I have been working on. We were in the bottom six last year and we’ve got to be in the top six and that’s it.”

He also confirmed that Mark Kerr and former Irish internationalist Alan Maybury have been training with the club for one week, but both have other options and he is not in a position to make them any offers at the moment although that may change.

Hibs are hoping to play Rapid Bucharest tomorrow at Grangemouth where the Romanian club have been training, but the game is in doubt due to a waterlogged pitch and an inspection will take place later today.

Photograph by Hibs TV

Irish Duo Leave Hibs

Former Republic of Ireland under 21 goalkeeper Graham Stack has become the latest Hibs player to leave the club after he was notified that his contract will not be extended. The 30 year old was signed by John Hughes three years ago, but a series of injuries have resulted in him only playing 61 times.

This season, he finally became the number one choice, taking over from Mark Brown, but a torn thigh muscle sustained in the semi-final against Aberdeen ended his Easter Road career and meant that he missed the Cup Final defeat last Saturday.

The former Arsenal player was a popular figure around the club and messaged his disappointment to fans via Facebook saying: “After 3 seasons at Hibernian I’m sad and gutted to have played my last game. It’s a Club that me and my Family have loved from day one and a City that’s became our home. Fans I’ve met along the way have been brilliant and will not be forgotten

“Those who have stuck by me through my injuries and picked me up when things on the pitch were bad i can’t thank you enough. It’s been a mixed journey of ups and downs, finishing 4th in my first season and getting into Europe was a real high as well reaching the Scottish Cup final more recently and saving a penalty in the Derby at Easter Rd.

“My biggest regret is to have not won any Silverware and missing so much football in my second season. I’d like to think having played 35 games this season I’ve shown people i can stay fit and played my part in keeping us up. I’ve now got to move on with my life and career and have no idea where it will go but one thing is for sure i can leave knowing whenever I’ve put the Hibs strip on I’ve given nothing less than everything to perform at my best and win every game!

“ I know everyone is still hurting after the weekend but i firmly believe it is a ”Great Club” and changes do need to be made but in years to come it will achieve a top 3 finish and will win The Scottish Cup and no one deserves it more than the supporters!! Thanks for everything STACKY and FAMILY X X X”

Stack’s exit was confirmed 24 hours after Hibs released club captain Ian Murray and young players Scott Taggart and Sean Welsh.

Garry O’Connor who is also out of contract has confirmed that he will not be signing an extension, whilst loan players George Francombe, Matt Doherty, Roy O’Donovan, Tom Soares, Richie Towell, Leigh Griffiths and James McPake have all returned to their parent clubs.

Fenlon has indicated that he may be talking to some of their clubs when the players concerned return from holidays, and the supporters are desperate to for the club to sign James McPake from relegated Coventry. The influential centre half was called up by Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neil for the forthcoming friendly against Holland. McPake qualifies for Northern Ireland through his Antrim born grandfather on his mother’s side.

Former Bohemians defender and Dublin native Matt Doherty confirmed that there is ‘no chance’ of him being at Easter Road next season in an interview after the final.

Fenlon Apologises To Fans After Cup Final Humiliation

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon apologised to the fans who had travelled in their thousands to Hampden, after a dismal performance ended in a 5-1 defeat at the hands of city rivals Hearts in the final of the Scottish Cup.

Both sides started slowly, but it was the Gorgie men who took the lead after 15 minutes. A Danny Grainger corner was headed on by Andy Webster, and Rudi Skacel’s deflected shot landed at the feet of Darren Barr who hit the ball past Mark Brown.

Two minutes later, referee Craig Thomson incurred the wrath of the Hibs support when he booked Pa Kujabi for a foul on Suso Santana, then only talking to Ian Black for a worse foul on Leigh Griffiths.

Hearts doubled their lead on 27 minutes after Isaiah Osbourne lost possession in midfield and Ian Black slipped the ball to an unmarked Skacel on the edge of the box. His shot was deflected off James McPake into the corner of the net.

It could have been three nil shortly afterwards but McPake was able to clear a Santana shot off the line with Brown beaten.

Just before half time, McPake gave Hibs a glimmer of hope when he side footed the ball past Jamie McDonald from a Tom Soares cross.

As the second half kicked off, everyone knew that the next goal would be vital, and it arrived two minutes later in controversial circumstances. Santana did well to beat Griffiths and Pa Kujabi on the right touchline, and the African fullback pulled his jersey as he ran toward the penalty box. Pa Kujabi released his grip two yards outside the box, but Santana continued his run before blatantly diving to the ground.

Craig Thomson was perfectly placed to see the dive, but amazingly pointed to the spot and sent Pa Kujabi off, ending any chance of a comeback from Hibs.

Danny Grainger dispatched the spot kick high into the corner of the net, and the only question left was how many would Hearts win by.

Two minutes later Hearts scored a fourth when Grainger’s corner found an unmarked Skacel in the box. His miss-hit shot beat Brown and was headed in by Ryan McGowan from close range, to the delight of the Hearts faithful.

Paulo Sergio’s men looked as if they could score at will but thankfully for Hibs they took their foot off the pedal and were happy to retain possession.

Skacel scored a fifth on 74 minutes with a well struck shot from the edge of the box which went through McPake’s legs leading to a mass exodus at the Hibs end.

After the game, a clearly angry Pat Fenlon said: “We didn’t turn up, we didn’t shine, we didn’t deserve to win the game. We didn’t show anything. I apologise to the fans for having to sit and watch that.”

“There’s no desire and we’ve got to change the players to change the outlook of the club. The club has been like this for a while. We’ll work as hard as we can to turn things around.”

Hibs: Brown, Doherty, Pa Saikou Kujabi, Hanlon, McPake, Claros, Osbourne, Stevenson, Soares, Griffiths, O’Connor. Subs Grant, Sproule, Doyle. O’Hanlon, Francombe

Hearts:  MacDonald, Grainger, Webster, McGowan, Zaliukas Barr, Black, Driver, Santana Skacel, Elliott.  Subs: Rigders, Taouil,Prychynenko, Beattie,Robinson

Referee Craig Thomson

Attendance 51,041

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.”

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