Posts Tagged ‘ St Johnstone ’

Fenlon’s Selection Headache for Cup Semi-Final

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A dejected Pat Fenlon bemoaned his team’s lack of commitment following yesterday’s 3-0 defeat to Celtic at Parkhead, which continues a poor run of form which has seen Hibs win only one league game this calendar year.

Fenlon has always insisted that a top six spot was his objective this season, and for long spells it looked as if this would happen. In fact Hibs sat top of the SPL on two occasions earlier in the season, but recent results have condemned them to the bottom half of the table for the third year running, a situation which has seen some fans questioning the ethics of the club from top to bottom. Continue reading

St Johnstone Leapfrog Hibs Into Fourth Spot

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St Johnstone leapfrogged a lacklustre Hibs side to move into fourth in the SPL with a powerful performance at a freezing cold Easter Road last night. Continue reading

Fenlon Delighted With Transfer Window

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

Hibs 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

Cairney’s Goal Enough To Secure Victory Over St Johnstone

A late Paul Cairney goal was enough to secure all three points for Hibs against an on-form St Johnstone side on a freezing cold night at McDiarmid Park in Perth.

Both clubs had their hearts set on top spot in the SPL, however Celtic’s whirlwind start at Tynecastle saw the champions up by two goals before the Hibs game kicked off, meaning that second place was the likely outcome for the winners.

Manager Pat Fenlon named an unchanged side from Saturday’s home defeat against Aberdeen with influential trio James McPake, Gary Deegan and Tim Clancy all side-lined through injury for the fourth game in succession.

Problems with the turnstiles meant that many of the travelling support were late getting into the ground, missing Eoin Doyle almost scoring after a neat one-two with Leigh Griffiths saw his dipping shot fly narrowly over the bar.

The Saints responded quickly and a Craig free kick dropped at the feet of Steven Anderson only for the big defender to scoop the ball high over the crossbar.

Lewis Stevenson did well to block a vicious strike from Gregory Tade following a knock-down from Rowan Vine as St Johnstone began to dominate possession.

On the half hour mark Ryan McGivern was booked for a trip on Tade on the edge of the box, and from the resultant free kick, Mackay’s deflected effort flew inches wide of goal.

Paul Hanlon then did well to block a Tade shot before St Johnstone went close just before the break when a Craig free kick was deflected onto the crossbar.

Just after half time, the ball broke to Tade, but the former Raith striker blazed the ball over the bar from close range.

Hibs fought back and on the hour mark, a Griffiths corner kick was headed narrowly over by Hanlon.

At the other end, McLean spurned a good chance after nice work by Craig, but the strikers shot was easily saved by Williams.

Pat Fenlon replaced Doyle with teenager Ross Caldwell and the youngster was soon in the thick of the action, latching onto Griffiths knock own before shooting just over from the edge of the box.

St Johnstone were awarded a penalty kick on 78 minutes when Wotherspoon was adjudged to have tripped Mackay as he was running into the box, although the call was debatable to say the least. Justice was done from the Hibs point of view when Ben Williams dived full length to his right to push away substitute Hasselbaink’s effort and then did magnificently to get to his feet and block the follow-up from Craig.

Two minutes later, against the run of play, Hibs opened the scoring when Griffiths’ shot was blocked but the ball fell kindly for Cairney to slot it  under Alan Mannus and into the net. The former Partick Thistle midfielder then did a forward roll before running behind the goals to accept the adulation of the Hibs fans. Unsurprisingly, referee Craig Thompson showed him a yellow card for his celebration.

The Saints tried to hit back quickly and Jorge Claros did brilliantly to head clear from goal when David Robertson looked poised to equalise.

In the closing minutes, substitute Robertson was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg and moments later captain Mackay was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident

St Johnstone had played the ball out to allow treatment for Robertson and in response Hibs returned the ball to McKay in his own half. The defender took too long decoding what to do with the ball and Leigh Griffiths quite correctly closed him down. This angered McKay who appeared to head-but the Hibs striker.

After the game a delighted Pat Fenlon told BBC Scotland: “”We didn’t play well tonight but we played really well on Saturday and got nothing out of the game. It’s three really big points for us and I’m delighted for the players, who showed great character.”

“We knew coming here would be difficult on the back of two defeats, and in the second half we had to dig in at bit at times.”

Fenlon praised goalkeeper Ben Williams’s heroics at the penalty kick: “The rebound was probably a better save because he was moving across the goal and he has to get himself set again. You see that a lot, when a team misses a penalty, the other team goes up the pitch and scores.

“The goal seemed to take an eternity to go in as well; it just trickled over the line.

“St Johnstone had a lot of pressure on us without creating loads of chances. They had shots from distance and Ben made a couple of saves.

“But being a good team is defined by how you win matches and lose them and we had to work really hard to get anything from the game.”

“With James McPake and Tom Clancy out, it leaves us not the biggest team, so making changes; I was worried about taking taller players off because we did have to defend a lot of corners.

“We’re not the biggest team but we have a fair bit of steel within the group.”

“We want to make progress and we are steadily doing that. We are a little bit stretched at the moment with Gary Deegan out, as well as Clancy and McPake – they are big players for us.

“You have just got to hang on until we get those boys back in.”

McPake has a chance of making the cup tie against Hearts on Sunday, but the fixture has come too early for Deegan and Clancy.

Amazingly, Hibs are now only six points behind their overall total for last season, highlighting the progress the team has made under Pat Fenlon.

St Johnstone: Mannus, MacKay, Wright, Anderson, Miller, Millar, Davidson, Craig, Tade (Robertson 78′ (Caddis 90′)), MacLean, Vine (Hasselbaink 71′).Substitutes not used: Tuffey, Scobbie, Rodger, Kane,

Hibernian: Williams, Maybury, Hanlon, McGivern, Stevenson, Cairney (Sproule 87′), Claros, Taiwo, Wotherspoon, Griffiths (Kuqi 90′), Doyle (Caldwell 67′). Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Donaldson, Stanton, Handling.

Referee: Craig Thomson.

Attendance: 3,266

Chairman’s plea to lapsed Hibs’ supporters

Hibs’ Chairman Rod Petrie today thanked those supporters who have backed the Club this season and appealed to those still to return to Easter Road Stadium to play their part to support the continued improvement of the team.

With Pat Fenlon’s revamped team poised to go top of the SPL with a victory over St Mirren at Easter Road on Saturday, the board of directors are keen to see the gradual rise in support continue.

In a statement issued on the official website, Petrie said:  “The unprecedented events of this summer created high levels of uncertainty in Scottish football, adding to the commercial difficulties faced by clubs at a time of economic recession. The uncertainty was created by the actions of those people running one club, but the financial impact has been felt by every club.

“In our own case, this added to the difficulties presented by two years of under-performance on the pitch. A great deal of work has been done to address that, both on the pitch and off. Progress has been made, but we are still some distance short of where we need to be.

“The Club has approximately 8,000 Season Ticket holders for 2012-13, which is up on the number for 2011-12 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 an additional 3,000 Season Ticket Holders. In the final analysis, an extra 1,000 Season Tickets were sold. 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 matches at Easter Road Stadium.

“We know that there are still significant numbers of individuals and families who had Season Tickets in 2010-11 and 2011-12 but who are not Season Ticket Holders for this Season. The challenge for the Club is to do all that it can to get everyone back on board, attending matches.

“Attendances at Easter Road Stadium have grown from 9,600 against St Johnstone in the second home match of the Season to 10,200 against Dundee in the fifth home game. The attendance at the match against Dundee as ‘club 12’ was well short of the attendance of 17,100 against Rangers in August 2010 when the East Stand was opened for the first time in a domestic fixture.
“Home attendances are growing from the low level reached following two years of under-performance on the pitch. We have tried to match the ambitions of supporters by investing in the team – the signing of James McPake was something that everyone wanted to see. Gradually, in difficult circumstances, Pat Fenlon has assembled a team that has proved much more resilient and competitive at the upper end of the table.

“Supporters like what they see and hopefully will be encouraged to continue to return to Easter Road Stadium in greater numbers. Supporters have created a great atmosphere within the Stadium and the players have responded – its just what we needed.

“We would like to do more to help Pat sustain that improvement again in the January Transfer Window. That will depend on our core source of income – receipts from attendances at home games between now and the turn of the year.

“There is no magic wand – everyone needs to do what they can, but only if they can, in these times of economic hardship. We are impatient and want to do more. However, we can only operate within the resources available to us from supporters.

“I would like to thank everyone for what they have done this Season. However I have to ask every supporter to look again and to do what they can from within their own budget – be that attending more matches as a walk-up supporter, committing to a half season ticket when they go on sale, buying their own little piece of the history and fabric of Easter Road through the iconic East Terrace scheme, or through other purchases at the re-vamped Clubstore.”

Fenlon’s men move up to second in the SPL

Hibs moved to second place in the SPL with a 2-0 victory over St Johnstone at Easter Road today as goals by Paul Hanlon and Eoin Doyle either side of half time, secured the three points in a hard fought encounter.

Pat Fenlon kept faith with the starting eleven who won against St Mirren last Saturday, and Shefki Kuqi had to be content with a place on the bench.

Alan Maybury faced his former club for the first time, whilst the Saints fielded ex Hibs midfielder Patrick Cregg.

The Perth men started brightly and dominated possession in the early stages. Paul Hanlon had to be alert to stop Rowan Vine with a last ditch tackle in the penalty box, and the young defender did well to clear a dangerous cross from Vine two minutes later.

Hibs were struggling to get possession and after nine minutes Gary Deegan brought down Murray Davidson on the edge of the box. Liam Craig’s free kick hit the wall and rebounded back to the midfielder who struck a volley inches past the post.

A minute later, a Tim Clancy mistake allowed Nigel Hasselbaink to get possession inside the box, but his shot was blocked for a corner.

After 15 minutes, Gary Deegan lost possession and the ball fell to Gregory Tade but his first touch let him down and James McPake ushered the ball to safety.

At this stage, it was all St Johnstone and the Hibs fans were becoming impatient. Five minutes later, a stramash in midfield resulted in the ball falling to unmarked Tade just inside the box, but the big striker took too long to adjust his body and a superb tackle by McPake cleared the danger, hurting his back in the process.

Vine, Craig and Cregg combined to set up Dave McKay, but the full back’s shot just wide, as Hibs looked a shadow of the team who had performed so well in the previous two games.

On 30 minutes, Shefki Kuqi started warming up and received a great reception from the fans in the Famous Five stand. This seemed to inspire Hibs and David Wotherspoon sent a dangerous cross into the Saints box.

Hasselbaink then had a good run down the wing and shot narrowly wide after slack play by the Hibs midfield lost possession.

As half time approached, Doyle had the fans on their feet with a great run down the left wing, and only a last ditch tackle prevented him opening the scoring. The corner was cleared but fell to Wotherspoon whose long range effort was deflected for another corner on the right.

Leigh Griffiths hit an accurate ball to the back post which was met by the head of Paul Hanlon and the Scotland under 21 captain’s effort just crossed the line before being cleared by a Saints’ defender, to give Hibs an undeserved lead.

During the break, Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly told the Irish News Review: “It’s been a disappointing game and to be honest, Hibs are fortunate to be ahead, but you have to remember, the goalkeeper Ben Williams has not had a save to make.”

Whatever Pat Fenlon said at half time seemed to work, as the Hibs players came out with a different attitude and started winning the midfield battle. In 49 minutes. Deegan set up Jorge Claros, but the Honduran international’s shot went just over the bar.

A minute later Griffiths did well to beat a defender but his cross toward Doyle was intercepted and fell to Paul Cairney.  The former Partick Thistle man did well to dribble past a defender inside the box, but his shot was blocked.

It was only a matter of time before Hibs scored again and on 51 minutes, Deegan split the Saints’ defence with a through ball to Griffiths. The on-form striker looked as though he would pull the trigger from an acute angle, but instead cut the ball back to Doyle who hammered in a shot from six yards. Saints’ keeper Mannus somehow blocked the effort, but Doyle was first to react and prodded the rebound into the net.

Doyle almost made it three minutes later after a through ball from Alan Maybury, but after beating his marker, his shot was deflected for a corner.

On 56 minutes. New signing Peter Pawlett replaced Cregg, and the Hibs fans were quick to remind him of his dive which gave Aberdeen an undeserved penalty last year.

McPake was unlucky not to get his head onto a Wotherspoon corner, and the ball fell to Griffiths on the right touchline. Griffiths swung over a cross cum shot which almost sneaked in at the back post, generating a chant of ‘Leigh Leigh Super Leigh Griffiths’ from the singing section.

With Hibs looking comfortable, they survived a scare on 61 minutes when ever reliable McPake misjudged a long ball which fell to Tade in the box. The big striker took his time and should have scored but a fantastic save by Ben Williams kept the two goal margin.

Five minutes later, a wonderful piece of skill saw Griffiths beat his marker on the half way line and run clean through on goal. He elected to go himself when Doyle was in a better position and was tackled as he was about to shoot.

Shortly afterwards McKay was booked for a scything tackle on Griffiths and Saints replaced Hasselbaink with Sean Higgins as manager Lomas tried to get his team back into the game.

On 70 minutes, Wotherspoon sent a dangerous corner into the six yards box and Mcpake’s flying header went inches past the post.

Two minutes later Cairney had the ball in the net after lobbing the keeper but the whistle had already gone for offside on Doyle.

McPake had to leave the field due to a bleeding nose, and St Johnstone almost took advantage during the next corner which was headed narrowly past the post. McPake resumed the field to a massive roar from the Hibs fans, and was immediately in action heading clear a cross.

The captain had a penalty claim turned down and Wotherspoon was booked for protesting when he was adjudged to have fouled a St Johnstone player during a 50-50 tussle.

Clancy almost wrapped up the points with a near post header from a Griffiths corner but the Saints upped the tempo for the last 10 minutes and Hanlon was outstanding in clearing any danger.

With four minutes remaining. Doyle and Griffiths were replaced by Ross Caldwell and Shefki Kuqi, and both left the field to a standing ovation from the delighted Hibs fans.

James McPake (pictured) was voted sponsors man of the match.

After the game Pat Fenlon said: “We didn’t get to the levels where we’ve been in the first half, and in fairness, the players knew that before I got to them. The second half was much better. St Johnstone started the game really well and worked us hard, picked up a lot of second balls, things we’ve been doing well the last couple of games, so we spoke about it at half time, how we would have to up the gears and we did that quite well second half. We kept the ball a lot better. Last season we would have been going in one or two down. We got a lot of blocks in there first half. Paul (Hanlon) obviously scored but I though he was very good in the first half as well. The second half is where we want to be as a club and where we should be, we’ve just got to make sure we don’t start games down the gears.”

St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas felt his team were unlucky not to take something from Easter Road. He said: “For the first 45 minutes, we absolutely bossed it. We had better chances in the second half and I am disappointed by the result but pleased with the response after the Aberdeen game. We’ve got to get better in the last third of the pitch. Goals change games.”

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

St Johnstone: Mannus, MacKay, Wright, Anderson, Davidson, Cregg, Vine, Davidson, Craig, Hasselbaink, Higgins. Subs: Tuffey, Higgins, Miller, Caddis, Adams,  May, Pawlett

Attendance 9639

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