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Posts Tagged ‘ Motherwell ’

No Happy Birthday For Pat Fenlon as Hibs lose 4-1 to Motherwell

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There would be no happy birthday for Pat Fenlon as Hibs hopes of a top six finish took a major setback at Fir Park tonight when Motherwell fought back from a goal down to win 4-1.

Fenlon kept faith with the starting eleven who were unlucky not to win the Edinburgh derby on Sunday, meaning still no place for Tim Clancy who is recovering from injury while new signing Kevin Thomson had to settle for a place on the bench. Continue reading

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Hibs 2-3 Motherwell

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Hibs let a two goal lead slip at Easter Road today, as Motherwell fought back to score three times in the closing stages to secure all three points in a hard fought encounter. Pat Fenlon’s men looked to be cruising to victory when Eoin Doyle scored his second of the afternoon, but a Jamie Murphy double and a Bob McHugh goal was enough for the Steelmen to claim victory.

Rod Petrie’s AGM plea to the lapsed fans to return in their numbers seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, as only 8413 home fans turned up to witness the fixture. Those who did so however were delighted to see club captain James McPake return to the side after injury, resulting in Ryan McGivern moving to left back and Lewis Stevenson taking a seat on the bench. Another long term injury victim, Gary Deegan was also listed as a substitute.

Hibs started well, and could have been two goals up in the first minute. Eoin Doyle slipped the ball to David Wotherspoon on the right wing, but the youngster had to delay his cross as there was no-one in the box. He eventually returned the ball to Doyle who beat a defender before his shot was blocked. Moments later Jorge Claros found Doyle who turned the Motherwell defender before shooting inches past the post with Darren Randolph well beaten.

‘Well fought back and Paul Hanlon misjudged Tom Hateley’s punt  forward allowing Michael Higdon a clear shot at goal, but the big striker ballooned the ball well over the bar.

Alan Maybury found Leigh Griffiths unmarked, and the on-loan striker’s shot was well saved by Irish international Randolph.

Hibs almost took the lead when Griffiths’ free kick found the unmarked McPake in the box, but the skipper headed the ball just over the bar.

On 31 minutes, McPake was harshly booked for holding back Henrik Ojamaa, and this would prove costly later on.

With half time approaching, Hibs took a deserved lead when the ball fell to Tom Taiwo twenty five yards out. The former Chelsea midfielder looked as if he was about to shoot, but instead slipped the ball through to Griffiths who was unable to control it, but managed to find David Wotherspoon. The Scotland under 21 star did well to beat the defender on the outside before his perfectly weighted cross was met by Doyle who headed the ball past his fellow countryman Randolph into the bottom left corner of the net.

Hibs almost got a second just before the break with a long range Griffiths’ shot which Randolph was unable to hold but Adam Cummins managed to boot the ball clear before Doyle could get to the rebound.

Ten minutes into the second half, Hibs doubled their lead when Paul Cairney’s long ball over the top saw the former Sligo Rovers striker race clear of the Motherwell defence. With only the keeper to beat, Doyle took his time before smashing a powerful shot beyond Randolph from the edge of the box.

Hibs appeared to take their foot off the pedal, and it was no surprise when Motherwell pulled one back when Chris Humphrey finally got the better of Ryan McGivern on the right wing to drill a low ball across the six yard line where Jamie Murphy was waiting to knock it home.

With Motherwell dominating possession, Pat Fenlon replaced Griffiths with Deegan in an effort to solidify the midfield, and later brought on Ross Caldwell for Doyle.

Motherwell won a succession of corners, but the Hibs defence held firm, until the 80th minute, when Hateley’s cross found Higdon who beat McPake in the air at the back post to nod the ball across to Murphy who headed the ball home.

With minutes to play, Stuart McCall’s men found a winner when substitute Bob McHugh was on hand to slide home Henrik Ojamaa’s cross, however there was anger in the Hibs stands as the linesman should have awarded Hibs a corner just before the goal.

As the fourth official indicated four minutes of added time, McPake clattered into Murphy in the centre circle and was shown a second yellow card which means that he will miss the away fixture at Kilmarnock next week.

After the game, Pat Fenlon said: “We stopped playing after we scored the second goal to be honest. The second goal seemed to give the players the thought that maybe we could see the game out. We dropped too deep instead of trying to retain the ball.”

When asked whether the game changed when Griffiths was taken off, he replied: “We were under the cosh before we took Leigh off. I didn’t think he did well today to be honest. The idea was to try and get an extra man in midfield.”

Eoin Doyle said: “It’s very disappointing to be two nil up the going on to lose the game, especially at home. We’ve done very well at home this season and it’s not something we want to see creep into our game. I think we switched off after we scored the second goal and we didn’t see it out. We weren’t ugly enough. We should have been a bit uglier in the sense of trying to run down the play. I was disappointed in myself. I scored two goals bit I didn’t think I played well in the second half.”

The result will put a dampener on the team’s Christmas night out in Newcastle tonight, and the players will be desperate to get back on the winning trail at Rugby Park next Saturday.

Hibs: Williams, Maybury, McPake, Hanlon, McGivern, Wotherspoon, Taiwo, Claros, Cairney (Handling 87), Griffiths (Deegan 70), Doyle (Caldwell 77). Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Stevenson, Stanton, Kuqi.

Motherwell: Randolph, Hateley, Hutchison, Cummins (McHugh 73), Hammell, Humphrey, Lasley, Law, Murphy, Higdon, Ojamaa (Frances-Angol 90). Substitutes not used: Hollis, Ramsden, Daley, Kerr, Hetherington.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance 8817

Hibs Chairman Rod Petrie’s Address To AGM

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Hibs Chairman Rod Petrie last night addressed the shareholders at the club’s AGM and once again urged lapsed supporters to return to Easter Road in their numbers or see a reduction on costs. Petrie also highlighted the reduced income from TV following the loss of Rangers from the SPL, and praised the work of the Hibernian Foundation and the supporters group ‘Let’s Work Together.’

He also apologised for the two seasons of under achievement and conceded that the appointment of Colin Calderwood was not a good one. Finally he advised those present about the two recent suggestions for league reconstruction currently being discussed by the SPL and SFL.

His full statement is printed below.

We have approved the Financial Statements for last year – only our second loss in eight years. We are keen to avoid a hat-trick and need your help to grow revenues while we continue to maintain a tight control on costs.

The poor performances on the pitch in the early part of last Season resulted in lower attendances and lower levels of income. This followed a difficult summer in which Colin Calderwood was linked with two jobs in England. When neither of the moves happened, Colin failed to convince supporters of his long term ambitions for Hibernian Football Club and Season Tickets suffered.

After a credible draw at Celtic Park at the end of October, Colin Calderwood left the Club following an ignominious defeat at home to Dunfermline Athletic in front of 9,531 supporters.

The way things worked out, the appointment of Colin Calderwood was not a good one. Mistakes were made. As Chairman, I take responsibility for that. I am sorry that we have all had to endure two seasons of under-achievement and decline.

After a thorough recruitment process, Pat Fenlon was appointed the Manager on 25 November 2011. He faced a tough task to turn around the Club’s playing fortunes. Pat completed the Club’s home SPL programme on 7 May 2012 with a return match against Dunfermline Athletic, this time in front of 15,281 supporters. The team won 4-0 to secure the Club’s status in the top flight of Scottish football – which should never have been put in doubt.

That progress and the Club’s re-engagement with supporters suffered a severe blow with defeat in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on 19 May. The Club apologised to supporters for the manner of that defeat in the aftermath of the game.

Some people had mixed emotions when the fourth round draw for this Season’s Scottish Cup paired last Season’s finalists. Pat Fenlon and the team were delighted to have the opportunity, so quickly to atone in small measure for the events of last May. We look forward to the fifth round tie against either Aberdeen or Motherwell.

The deep disappointment of May was compounded by major uncertainty over the summer months regarding the finances of the SPL following the insolvency of Rangers. New TV contracts were eventually negotiated with Sky and ESPN and approved by the SPL clubs on 3 August, the day before the start of the Season. The worst fears of financial meltdown were avoided.

Rumours of the financial position of Rangers had been circulating for some months but it was still a jolt to Scottish and European football when Rangers finally went into administration on 14 February. It took four months of twists and turns, deals and no deals, before the Rangers’ CVA was voted down by HMRC on 14 June.

Having run out of money, the Administrators immediately sold the assets to the consortium led by Charles Green, which had the effect of putting Rangers outside football. By selling Ibrox Stadium and splitting it from the club’s membership of the SFA and the SPL, Rangers had lost its ability to play football in Scotland or, indeed, anywhere in the world.

It took four months to put Rangers outside football. It took Scottish football just six weeks to find a place for the Rangers’ Newco.

Your Club did what it thought was right at every step of the process. The rest, they say is history.

Our performances on the pitch this Season have improved dramatically following the major overhaul of the playing squad undertaken by the Manager in the close season. However, it looks as if it will take sustained performances on the pitch over an extended run of games to have a meaningful impact on home attendances and so on Club revenues.

The number of home supporters attending Easter Road Stadium has grown slowly, game by game since the start of the Season – 9,024 Hibernian supporters attended the first home game of the Season whereas there were 10,136 Hibernian supporters in Easter Road Stadium at the last home SPL league match against Aberdeen.

And some 13,000 Hibernian supporters were here for the fourth round tie in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

It would be nice to think that those 13,000 supporters will return here at 3pm on Saturday for our SPL clash against Motherwell – or that we might achieve a modern day record attendance at 3pm on Saturday 29 December. The Celtic game has not been moved for TV. The only way you can see the match against the league leaders is by being here in the Stadium.

Growing the attendances by Hibernian supporters is our core strategy. We are asking supporters to do what you do best – support the team at home matches. If we cannot do that, and if we cannot grow our income, then the only route to get back to break even will be to make substantial reductions in costs. The Club is asking shareholders, supporters and everyone connected with the Club to play your part in getting back to where we all want it to be.

The Club has approximately 8,000 Season Ticket holders which is up on the number for last season despite the severe economic conditions facing every household. The Club is grateful to those supporters who rallied to the call in the summer to find additional Season Ticket Holders. In the main, it was existing Season Ticket Holders who bought the additional tickets or who bought Kicks for Kids tickets to help those less fortunate than themselves get access to Easter Road Stadium.

We know that there are still a significant number of individuals and families who had Season Tickets in 2010 and 2011 but who are not Season Ticket Holders today. Hopefully the Half Season Ticket offering will add to the number of Season Ticket Holders in the second half of the Season.

Members of the Lets Work Together group made telephone calls to lapsed Season Ticket Holders as part of the drive for renewals in the summer and their calls were appreciated by all who received them. The “Let’s Work Together Group” is a supporter led initiative formed over the summer and drawn from right across the Hibernian Family. Members of the Lets Work Together Group meet with staff on a regular basis to discuss ways in which the Club can improve. They have come forward with a range of good ideas to foster greater collaboration between Club and supporters. This is a small beginning which we hope will develop over the coming weeks and months for the benefit of the Club.

The Hibernian Community Foundation continues to make a difference in our communities:

· 468 learners have attended the Hibernian Learning Centre in the last two years

· 88 Football Fans In Training have lost almost 6 metres round their waists and 216 Kg in weight

· 67% of all participants in Fit For Work have gone on to employment or further education

· Over 45 players with learning disabilities have been coached by our U20 Academy players

·  And numerous young people have participated in a number of community coaching initiatives

The landscape of Scottish football is changing. The SPL spent two years developing a strategy for all of Scottish football. At the end of the day, the SPL could not win over 11 of its 12 clubs let alone the clubs which are members of other leagues. However, discussions are now being pursued in earnest between the SPL and the SFL under the auspices of the Scottish FA. There are two options which have been put forward in recent weeks:

· The SFL has suggested that the SPL and the SFL could be merged into one league for all 42 clubs organised into a top division of 16 clubs; a middle division of 10 clubs; and a bottom division of 16 clubs. That has merit, but on its own does not deal with the top clubs suffering a 20% drop in the number of games going from 38 league games per season in the current set up to 30 games per season in a 16 team league.

· The SPL has suggested that the 42 clubs could be organised into a top tier of 24 clubs with the remaining 18 clubs (currently SFL Division 2 and 3 clubs) organised in a manner that they think is best for them – either on their own or with clubs drawn from the Highland League; the East of Scotland League; and the South of Scotland league.

· The top 24 clubs would be organised into two groups of 12 clubs for the first half of the Season. They would play each other home and away, giving each club 22 fixtures in this first phase of the League which would run through to the New Year fixtures.

· Then, following a Winter Break, the second phase would consist of three groups of 8 clubs. This gives a further 14 fixtures per club and a total of 36 matches for the Season.

· Having a Top 8 continues the theme of ‘best v best’ with the top clubs playing for the Championship and for European places.

· The Middle 8 – possibly known as the ‘Play Off 8″ – would comprise the bottom 4 clubs from the top 12 and the top 4 clubs from the bottom 12. These 8 clubs would start on zero points and over 14 matches and would play for promotion and relegation. This means that up to four clubs could be relegated and up to four clubs could be promoted in each Season.

· The Bottom 8 clubs would play to avoid relegation and play offs which could lead to relegation from the tier containing the top 24 clubs in Scotland.

Both plans call for a change in the financial distribution model to reduce the huge financial difference which exists at present between the bottom of the SPL and the top of the SFL. A softer financial landing takes away the threat to the very survival of a club through relegation.

Neither plan is being advanced as a mechanism to provide for the accelerated promotion of Rangers.

There have been constructive discussions of late and more discussions are planned for the weeks ahead. Your Club will continue to play its part in these discussions at the top table of Scottish football.

Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, there have been significant changes at your Club – not just on the pitch but also behind the scenes and in the senior management of the Club. I should like to thank every member of staff for their hard work and dedication to the Club. Some of it is supporter facing but most of it is behind the scenes. They are the unsung heroes who help make your Club what it is today.

I would also like to thank Pat Fenlon for accepting the post of Manager at a particularly challenging time and for attacking the task of rebuilding the squad with conviction. Pat himself will tell you that it is still work in progress as we approach the January Transfer Window.

Today, we find ourselves near the top end of the most competitive league in recent years. We are 1 point away from second place; but there are just 5 points covering the six teams vying for a top six position alongside Celtic. With 27 points from 17 games; we are just 6 points short of our total points haul for the whole of last Season.

The stewardship of your Club is in the hands of the Board of Directors. The future of your Club is in the hands of the supporters who help in a real and tangible way by attending matches either on a seasonal basis or as walk up supporters. Our plea is a simple one – if you can, please attend matches at Easter Road Stadium to support your team!

Everyone wants Hibernian to be all that it can be, with success on the pitch, influence off it and making a difference in our communities.

Meanwhile, the Under 20 game against Celtic at Easter Road today has been postponed. This is bad news for Pat Fenlon and Gary Deegan who was expected to gain some much needed match practice following his recent injury.

Hibs Face Aberdeen Or Motherwell In Scottish Cup 5th Round

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Hibs will have to overcome another SPL side if they want to progress in the William Hill Scottish Cup after being drawn to play either Aberdeen or Motherwell who will replay at Fir Park next week in the 5th round.

Pat Fenlon’s men knocked holders Hearts out before a packed Easter Road yesterday, and their long suffering supporters are desperate to see the club win the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1902.

The tie will be played at Easter Road on the weekend of 2 February and there is sure to be another large crowd in attendance. Hopefully Fenlon will be able to retain the services of loan stars, Leigh Griffiths, Jorge Claros and Ryan McGivern who was immense in the centre of the defence against Hearts, replacing the injured James McPake, and possibly add to his squad during the January transfer window.

The full draw is as follows:

Raith Rovers v Celtic or Arbroath

St Mirren v Cowdenbeath or St Johnstone

Dunfermline v Dumbarton or Hamilton

Hibs v Aberdeen or Motherwell

Falkirk v Forfar Athletic

Dundee United v Rangers

Dundee v Turriff United or Morton

Kilmarnock v Ross County or Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Ties to take place on weekend of 2nd February

Unhappy Anniversary for Pat Fenlon

Today marks the first anniversary of Pat Fenlon’s appointment as Hibs manager although he admits that it feels longer.

The former Bohs’ manager took over a club languishing near the foot of the table with crowds around the 7000 mark when he was named as Colin Calderwood’s successor. Despite yesterday’s defeat to Aberdeen, Hibs sit third in the SPL and the attendances have crept back to over 12,000.

Fenlon, who lifted five League of Ireland titles and three cup trophies during his nine-year managerial career in Ireland, was described as a winner by chairman Rod Petrie, but ironically, the favourite for the post had been ex Hibs star Michael O’Neill who was with Shamrock Rovers at the time and subsequently went on to manage Northern Ireland. Few amongst the Hibs faithful had heard of Pat Fenlon as he watched from the stand as his new team went down 3-1 to St Johnstone, but they would quickly see the passion so lacking in the previous regime.

The following week, his first match in the dugout was abandoned at half-time due to an electrical fire at Motherwell, with Hibs leading one-nil, which was a sign of the bad luck to come.

A busy January transfer window papered over the cracks, and amazingly the team reached the Scottish Cup Final where they were hammered by Hearts. They did however narrowly survive a relegation battle, beating Dunfermline 4-0 in the penultimate game in front of over 15,000.

Despite the ups and downs of his tenure to date, the likeable Irishman is adamant that he has enjoyed his year at Hibs.

When he was reminded of today’s anniversary, Pat said: “Really? One year? It feels longer to be honest!

“It has been enjoyable and it has been eventful, definitely – but whether it has been the most eventful, I don’t know.

“I have had periods in my career where I have managed clubs where players and staff weren’t paid for 16 or 17 weeks – so that’s eventful and a different type of pressure.

“With management, you take it as it comes because every day throws up something completely different. It’s been a pleasure managing this club and hopefully it goes on a fair bit longer. I’ve enjoyed it.

“We had some lows last season and some highs this season. But it’s difficult to put them into context because the last campaign was all about survival while this season there’s been more highs than lows.”

At least he has survived the clubs AGM, which is more than three of his predecessors, can say. Mixu Paatelainen, John Hughes and Colin Calderwood were all sacked in the week prior to the meeting as the board attempted to quell a fans’ revolt.

The supporters are desperate to see some stability at Easter Road, and Fenlon’s achievements so far have convinced many that he is the man to guide the club forward in the long term.

With a new scouting set-up being put in place and an overhaul of the youth academy structure under way, Fenlon is eager to make his mark in a way that will last.

He said: “As a manager, you want to see improvement on a regular basis. We’re happy we have improved but we are not sitting on that thinking, ‘That’s great; we’ve now got to where we should be’. We want to kick on.

“We are not fooling ourselves. A fair bit of work still needs to be done and we are looking at all aspects of the football side of the club at the moment.

“There is a lot of work going on all the time so we can help improve the team and the club as a whole.”

One surprising potential recruit is Kenny Miller who is understood to be keen on a loan move back to the team where he began his career under Alex McLeish.

The Scotland international is currently with Vancouver Whitecaps but has failed to set North America’s Major League Soccer alight since joining the Canadian side midway through the season, scoring only twice in thirteen games. He has not started a competitive match since the beginning of the month, when he came on as a substitute as Whitecaps side lost to David Beckham’s LA Galaxy.

The new MLS season starts in March, and Miller is back in Scotland training with another of his former clubs Rangers, but Leith would be his preferred destination.

Fenlon says he has been notified of the player’s alleged interest and admits he is curious, although he has not spoken to Miller or his agent.

He said: “It’s been mentioned to me in the last few days but it’s 
not something we’ve actively done anything about. Is he available and does he want to come and play for us? You never know. He’s a fantastic player and we look at all options to try and improve the team.

Sadly it was not a happy anniversary for Fenlon as his Hibs side lost to an on-form Aberdeen side, although many believed that Hibs deserved something from the game.

Fenlon said: “We didn’t deserve to lose. It feels worse than last week [3-1 defeat to Dundee] because we didn’t deserve anything out of that, but this week we deserved to win.

“Even a draw I think would have been a travesty. Their keeper was fantastic today, particularly the save he made from Eoin Doyle in the first half.

“I’m not sure exactly how many shots Leigh Griffiths has had but again the goalkeeper has made some great saves. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Hibs return to Perth this Wednesday before playing hosts to Hearts in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday in front of a packed Easter Road.

With Hearts in financial trouble, many feel that this game could be the turning point in the club’s fortunes as their rivals will no longer be able to pay exorbitant wages to attract players, and future games will be on a level playing field.

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

Four Goal Victory Sends Fenlon’s Men Back To Second Place In The SPL

A comprehensive four goal victory against Motherwell at Fir Park last night sent Pat Fenlon’s men back to second place in the SPL.

Goals by David Wotherspoon, Leigh Griffiths(2) and Danny Handling ensured that the three points headed east along the M8, but as often happens when Hibs meet the Steelmen, there was no shortage of controversy in a game where three debatable penalties were awarded, and another example of why the game needs goal line technology was demonstrated.

Pat Fenlon made one change to the team who narrowly lost out to Ross County last weekend, bringing back former Motherwell full back Tim Clancy in place of Alan Maybury who took a seat on the bench.

A sizeable Hibs support made themselves heard on a  freezing cold night in Lanarkshire but it was the home side almost opened the scoring in the 5th minute when  a Tom Hateley  cross from the right was knocked into the path of Jamie Murphy by Henrik  Ojamaa and only a superb instinctive save from  Ben Williams kept the scores level.

Hibs fought back and almost scored a few minutes later when a Griffiths’ cross was back-heeled toward goal by Wotherspoon, but with the keeper nowhere, it finished just inches past the post.

The Easter Road men took a deserved lead in the 27th minute when a passing move ended with Paul Cairney skilfully created space before laying it off to Wotherspoon who smashed an unstoppable right-foot shot into the top right-hand corner of the net, for his third goal in five games.

‘Well’ fought back strongly and should have equalised when a Chris Humphrey  cross was headed towards goal by Steven Hammell before Williams appeared to keep it out with an acrobatic stop.TV replays however showed that the ball had appeared to  cross the line before the Hibs keeper made  contact.

Just before half time, Michael Higdon should have done better after good work by Ojamaa, but the big striker hit the ball over the bar from 10 yards.

Hibs almost doubled their lead shortly after the break when a Wotherspoon ball over the top, released Griffiths who appeared certain to score, however the ball just didn’t sit up for the striker and Motherwell somehow cleared the danger.

Humphries, Eoin Doyle, Nicky Law and Griffiths all went close in an end to end encounter, before Hibs scored a second in the 62nd minute, when a long ball from McGivern put Griffiths through on goal. The on-loan striker dribbled the ball past Darren Randolph who brought him down near the goal-line. Referee Stevie O’Reilly pointed to the spot and Griffiths confidently scored in front of the travelling support.

Eight minutes later and there was a penalty at the other end when McPake was harshly adjudged to have fouled Higdon as both went for a header. Higdon took the spot-kick himself, but the ball grazed the bar and flew high into the crowd.

Minutes later, Hibs were awarded their second penalty of the evening when Hammell fouled Wotherspoon, although TV replays suggested that the contact was just outside the box.

This didn’t affect Griffiths, who slotted the ball home from 12 yards to effectively end the game as a contest.

Griffiths was unlucky not to complete his hat-trick with a fine long-range effort which went just wide of Randolph’s post.

The game was held up for 4 minutes when referee O’Reilly limped off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by fourth official Iain Brines.

In the final minute of injury time Hibs added a fourth when Wotherspoon jinked his way through the Motherwell defence before picking out substitute Danny Handling to slip the ball into the net for his first SPL goal.

After the game, a delighted Pat Fenlon told BBC Scotland: “It’s a massive win for us tonight, although I know we got a bit of luck. We played well.

“According to some of our players, some of the decisions may have gone for us but I’m delighted for the players. I haven’t seen it yet [the Hammell header]. It looked like a good save from our point of view, but we should be talking about our first goal as well because it was fantastic.

“There was some good football in the game as well. I know, obviously, there will be talk about what went on with some of the decisions but there was good football from both sides too.

“Leigh is a handful up front and he’s that type of player who can play with somebody but he can also play up front on his own.

“Until we got the fourth goal you’re always worry that you’ll concede and get a bit edgy, but I’m delighted for the players and the staff because they’ve worked really hard since [the defeat by] Ross County.”

Motherwell: Randolph, Hammell, Law (Carswell 85′), Hateley, Humphrey, Ojamaa (Daley 66′), Higdon (McHugh 81′), Murphy, Lasley, Ramsden, Kerr. Substitutes not used: Hollis, Francis-Angol, Hetherington, Cummins.

Hibernian: Williams, Clancy (Maybury 66′), McGivern, Hanlon, McPake, Claros, Griffiths (Stevenson 87′), Doyle, Cairney (Handling 93′), Wotherspoon, Taiwo. Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Stanton, Kuqi, Harris.

Referee: Stevie O’Reilly.

Attendance: 5,301.

Good weekend for Irish players in SPL

A total of 14 Irishmen started for their clubs in the SPL this weekend. A further three were injured and one not selected.

Nine were on the winning side and two drew.

Game of the day on Saturday featured six plus a substitute as Hibs beat St Mirren 2-1 in Paisley. Alan Maybury, Tim Clancy, Gary Deegan and Eoin Doyle starred for Pat Fenlon’s men, with Doyle instrumental in setting up Leigh Griffiths second goal.

Graham Carey and Jim Goodwin started for St Mirren, but both were taken off at half time. This was captain Goodwin’s first game of the new season, having been banned for the opening two fixtures. David van Zanten who was surprisingly dropped to the bench made a late appearance as substitute.

Johnny Hayes scored his first goal of the season for Aberdeen in their 2-1 win over St Johnstone in Perth, after a mix up in the Saints’ defence.

No Irishmen featured in the amazing 1-1 draw between Ross County and Celtic where the Parkhead men equalised with the last kick of the game.  Anthony Stokes and Daryl Murphy both sustained injuries during the friendly against Real Madrid in Philadelphia. Kurtis Byrne has still not made the bench for County.

Motherwell’s Darren Randolph conceded against Kilmarnock, but the Steelmen went on to record a 2-1 victory to go second in the table. Randolph will be hoping to catch the eye of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni now that Shay Given has retired. Killie’s Paul Heffernan remains on the injured list.

Aaron Doran and Richie Foran both started for Inverness against Hearts at Tynecastle, but Foran was send off in the first half. Despite this, Terry Butcher’s team fought back to secure a 2-2 draw.

Dundee United’s quartet of Irishmen Sean Dillon, Richie Ryan, Willo Flood and Jon Daly all featured in the 3-0 victory over neighbours Dundee in the first competitive derby for seven years. That win was enough to move The Arabs to the top of the SPL.

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