{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hibs","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/he-s-all-left-foot-taunts-inspire-keatings-hibs-stunner-1-4403842","id":"1.4403842","articleHeadline": "‘He’s all left foot’ taunts inspire Keatings’ Hibs stunner","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490592648000 ,"articleLead": "

James Keatings today revealed how taunts that he was “all left foot” led to his stunning winner against Falkirk, a victory which sent Hibs ten points clear at the top of the Championship.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403841.1490539988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings celebrates scoring the winning"} ,"articleBody": "

The game was two minutes into added-on time when the striker cut in from the left and hit an unstoppable shot with his supposedly weaker right foot to clinch a 2-1 win which Bairns boss Peter Houston said all but guaranteed the Capital club the title.

Today, revealing even he was shocked to see his shot zip past Falkirk goalkeeper Robbie Thomson, Keatings said: “Every time I got the ball I was going to the bye-line and had two Falkirk players double up on me. I heard them saying ‘he’s all left foot’ and it stuck in my head.

“I don’t know who it was but they were saying I was all left foot so that made my mind up. The next time I got the ball I went on my right, caught it with my bad foot and it’s flown in.

“I couldn’t believe it – but I don’t think they could believe it either. I am just delighted for the manager and the team that we’ve taken the three points.”

Keatings admitted his goal, only his fifth of what, overall, has been a disappointing season for him, was as good and as important as he’s scored in his career, adding: “It reminded me of how I felt last season when I scored two goals against Falkirk in the play-offs but then I sat on the bench and watched them win the game.

“It’s a totally different feeling now, I’m buzzing. It was a massive result for us, coupled with other results. But you can’t take anything for granted in this league because points can be dropped anywhere.

“So we will remain focused for Wednesday night against Morton. It’s another massive game. They have been on a good run and are right up there. It’s up to us to up our performance again. Hopefully we can get three more points and build the gap between us and the rest.”

Keatings had found himself on the bench after turning in what he described as probably his worst performance in a Hibs shirt against Dumbarton seven days earlier but replaced Andrew Shinnie, who had suffered a shoulder injury just before half-time.

It was his free-kick which led to Efe Ambrose nodding Hibs into the lead but, revealed Keatings, he was culpable for Falkirk’s equaliser just two minutes later, Craig Sibbald heading home Fraser Aird’s corner.

He said: “I was kicking myself when they scored because Sibbald was my runner from the corner. I’d just set up the goal for Efe and I’d let a goal in at the other end. I said straight away after the game when I went in that it was my mistake at the corner.

“A few of the boys were having a go at Ross [goalkeeper Laidlaw] but I told them it wasn’t his fault – it was because I had lost Sibbald. It shouldn’t have happened. Luckily, I managed to redeem myself.”

Keatings held his hand up because he knew his error would be spotted. He said: “Would I have stayed silent if I hadn’t scored the winner? No, we’d have video analysis and there would have been no hiding place.

“I’m just delighted that we’ve got the three points in such an important game.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403841.1490539988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403841.1490539988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Keatings celebrates scoring the winning","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings celebrates scoring the winning","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403841.1490539988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-secure-new-three-year-kit-deal-with-macron-1-4404275","id":"1.4404275","articleHeadline": "Hibs secure new three-year kit deal with Macron","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490607026000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs today announced a new three-year kit deal with Italian manufacturer Macron and confirmed that PSL will be taking over as the club’s retail partner.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404274.1490607020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Macron are also kit suppliers at Hibs head coach Neil Lennon's former club Bolton"} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road club will joining Macron’s portfolio which includes Sporting Lisbon, Crystal Palace, Scottish Rugby and, in Scottish football, Motherwell and Ross County.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “Last year, we ran an extensive tender process looking at a range of retail and kit manufacturers. Macron’s business model allows us to create unique, high quality home and away kits.”

Macron will take over from current suppliers Nike while PSL will run the club store which is presently operated by Just Sport, who have both worked with Hibs for the past four seasons.

The new deal begins in June and the club store will be refurbished in the summer while PSL and Hibs will work on extending the range of products available.

Click here for the latest Hibs results, fixtures and stats>>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404274.1490607020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404274.1490607020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Macron are also kit suppliers at Hibs head coach Neil Lennon's former club Bolton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Macron are also kit suppliers at Hibs head coach Neil Lennon's former club Bolton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404274.1490607020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/easter-road-to-make-fringe-debut-with-hibs-play-1-4404013","id":"1.4404013","articleHeadline": "Easter Road to make Fringe debut with Hibs play","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490566648704 ,"articleLead": "It has seen shows staged in pubs, public toilets, allotments, telephone boxes and even the back of a taxi.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404012.1490564077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steve Small's theatre company Strange Town will be staging its stage play on the origins of Hibs at Easter Road."} ,"articleBody": "

Now the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is set to break new ground with a play inside a football stadium.

Easter Road, the historic home of Hibernian, will play host to a brand new production which will be staged in the concourse of one its stands.

A pop-up theatre will be created for the play, which will chart the origins of the club, which has its roots in the city’s Irish community, and the first 50 years of its existence.

Diehard fans will get the chance to take part by joining a new community choir being formed for the show, or auditioning for 20 acting roles.

Up to 150 people are expected to watch each performance of the show during the Fringe’s second week, which will have to be scheduled to accommodate any home matches.

The play is being developed by a Leith-based theatre company, Strange Town, which won huge acclaim for a show created to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gretna rail disaster, the majority of victims of which were from an army regiment based in Leith.

Hibs were formed in 1875 out of a Catholic Young Men’s Society set up 10 years earlier by Father Joseph Hannan, a priest at St Patrick’s Church in the Cowgate, in 1875, to help tackle social problems in the area. It was known as Little Ireland, due to an estimated 25,0000 immigrants living in its over-crowded slums.

Father Hannan was approached by one of the members of the St Patrick’s branch of the society, Michael Whelahan, who had been watching football being played on the Meadows, with the idea of creating a new club.

The priest liked it so much he agreed to manage the new outfit, named after the Roman name for ireland, who would go on to play their first ever match on the Meadows, against their future arch-rivals Heart of Midlothian, formed the previous year, on Christmas Day 1875.

The play, which is being penned by playwright Duncan Kidd, has emerged from GameChanger, a new “social partnerhship” initiative set up by Hibs, its community foundation and NHS Lothian.

Steve Small, creative director of Strange Town, said: “We were initially offered the chance to do the play in the middle of the pitch at Easter Road, but I didn’t think a stadium rock-type thing would really work.

"When the club said they had found a space in the stadium I was imagining a dusty room full of old football boots and deflated balls.

"But we went up and had a look at the space under the east stand. It’s brilliant for a theatre show - it’s like the inside of a long Toblerone.

“Hibs have been incredibly supportive and positive. One of the selling points for the choir and the cast is that we’re going to be able to rehearse the show at Easter Road, as well as giving us the space for the performances.

“You can be in Leith and feel completely disengaged with the Fringe. As someone who works in theatre, you want to be involved, but it is such a financial risk for companies.

“I’m really interested in seeing if we can get that cross-over audience that are into both football and theatre.”

A Hibs spokesman said: “GameChanger is all about harnessing the collective expertise of organisations, and combining it with the unique ability of football to reach into communities to deliver projects aimed at tackling social and health inequalities and improving social justice.

“To that end we discussed the possibility of creating a community play, to run during the Fringe, which would tell the still relevant story of the history of Hibernian, rooted as it is in immigration and integration.

“We’re all excited not only about the play, and the way we hope it will engage the community, but also about the things we hope might flow from it, such as community drama and singing.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404012.1490564077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404012.1490564077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steve Small's theatre company Strange Town will be staging its stage play on the origins of Hibs at Easter Road.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steve Small's theatre company Strange Town will be staging its stage play on the origins of Hibs at Easter Road.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404012.1490564077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/michael-weir-hibs-have-produced-when-it-really-matters-1-4403848","id":"1.4403848","articleHeadline": "Michael Weir: Hibs have produced when it really matters","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490592614000 ,"articleLead": "

Saturday was the most significant day of the season for Hibs because our win and Morton’s slip-up have given us a really commanding lead and eased the pressure at a vital stage in the title race.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403847.1490540286!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings' shot flies in the net to win the game. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

There have been a few times this season where we’ve felt we’re nearly there and then gone on to suffer a setback, but I’m really confident now that we’ll get over the line. It’s not done yet but as long as we avoid defeat against Morton, I don’t think anyone will be strong enough to catch us.

Saturday’s results again showed the value of being out in front in the title race because if you’re leading the way, it allows you a margin for error that the chasing pack don’t really have.

Hibs have slipped up and got away with it in previous weeks, whereas Morton’s defeat at the weekend has left them with a mountain to climb. I would think they’ll have to win at Easter Road this week to have any chance of running us close now.

They will know Wednesday is their last throw of the dice so they will come and have a go. But instead of it being a must-win game for Hibs, Saturday’s results means we can now approach it knowing that we’ll be fine as long we don’t lose. That should give the players extra confidence to go out and play their game and try and put this race to bed once and for all.

If we win on Wednesday, it gives the players the chance to really enjoy the end to the season. They’ve still got the Scottish Cup to come so it would be nice to get the league all but tied up before the semi-final comes along. We’re in a very strong position.

Although it’s not been as straightforward as we might have hoped, I think over the course of the campaign we’ve just had a bit too much for the rest of the teams in the league. We’ve had some bad days, but when it’s really counted, the players have produced.

The fact James Keatings produced a moment of brilliance at the death highlighted why we’re in the position we’re in because no-one else in the league has enough depth to bring a goalscorer of his track record at this level off the bench. Our overall quality has shone through when it’s mattered.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403847.1490540286!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403847.1490540286!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Keatings' shot flies in the net to win the game. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings' shot flies in the net to win the game. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403847.1490540286!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/neil-lennon-title-is-in-our-hands-no-question-1-4403873","id":"1.4403873","articleHeadline": "Neil Lennon: Title is in our hands – no question","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490592610000 ,"articleLead": "

After weeks of fretting, Hibs fans can at last breathe that little bit easier knowing that the Championship is all but theirs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403871.1490540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings fires home his brilliant winning goal"} ,"articleBody": "

A succession of draws against teams in the bottom half of the table had caused plenty of worries but, when it’s come down to it, Neil Lennon’s players have produced, beating in turn title rivals Dundee United and now Falkirk.

Ten points now separate the Easter Road side from the Bairns and Morton, who suffered their first home defeat in almost a year as they went down to Dunfermline, and the arrival of Jim Duffy’s men in the Capital on Wednesday gives Hibs the opportunity to widen what is already a yawning gap between them and the rest.

“It’s in our hands,” agreed Lennon. “There’s no question of that and, even if Morton win their game in hand, there’s still a significant gap. We still have a bit of work to do, but I think, psychologically, it was huge for us after dropping points last week [to Dumbarton].”

Falkirk midfielder Mark Kerr wasn’t going to disagree with that assessment, noting that he and his team-mates could have slashed Hibs’ advantage to just four points with a victory but now, he conceded: “We’ve got to focus on second now – it’s Hibs’ to throw away.”

Having said that, Falkirk came within seconds of keeping the league open for at least a little while longer, Craig Sibbald having cancelled out Efe Ambrose’s first goal for Hibs within two minutes of the Nigerian internationalist scoring.

But that was without bringing James Keatings, the striker who has endured a frustrating season, into the reckoning. Keatings had found himself back on the bench after a miserable performance when given a rare start against Dumbarton but found himself thrust into the action when Andrew Shinnie suffered a shoulder injury which will undergo a scan 
today.

Having delivered the inch-perfect cross for Ambrose’s header and, with the clock showing two added minutes had already been played, Keatings cut in from the left and, with his weaker right foot, sent a sumptuous curling shot beyond Falkirk’s helpless goalkeeper Robbie Thomson.

“It was a goal worthy of winning any game,” insisted Lennon. “Keats has been due one. There was one a couple of minutes earlier when the ball came to him and he lashed at it on the volley instead of taking a touch which was symptomatic of his season.

“But he’s a technician and I’ve seen him do that a lot, left foot and right foot. He is a good finisher. He has had to be patient and we’ve had to change the way we play a little bit.

“We had to be direct because the pitch [being played on for the third time in eight days] wasn’t great. I want us to be direct because I think we overplay at times. We all want to play super, nice football, but it doesn’t get you results.

“It was nice to win the game in the manner we did because we’ve not done that as often as I would like. It’s down to the fitness and character of the team, the mindset is strong. It was a good game of football, very exciting and Falkirk played their part in it.

“It was a good win, really important and, with Morton losing, it could be a pivotal day in the run-in. I’m delighted, absolutely delighted.”

And Keatings revealed his goal would make his journey home far more pleasant than the previous week, disclosing that he and his dad barely exchanged a word after his dismal display against Dumbarton.

He said: “I couldn’t argue with the manager leaving me out. I drove home with my dad, who is the worst person I could go home with after having a bad game. I was dreading it, I thought he might tie me up and put me in the boot!

“There were barely any words said on the journey but I told him it was my worst game since I signed for Hibs. He sometimes says I’m too hard on myself but I didn’t do myself justice and I could have no arguments at being out of the side.

“I had the chance to make amends and I’m delighted I did that. I was a bit down last week, but now I’m going to look for my dad and hopefully he’s got a big smile on his face.”

It was also a game with plenty of bite, Falkirk’s Luke Leahy wiping out Martin Boyle within the first minute, provoking the first of a number of bouts of pushing and shoving.

Kerr revealed the claim by Shinnie prior to the match that the Bairns could well have been playing Premiership football this season if they hadn’t “bottled” the second leg of their play-off final against Kilmarnock, irked the visitors.

Recalling how Hibs’ Fraser Fyvie had fuelled the fire last season by questioning if Falkirk had “big time players”, 35-year-old Kerr said: “It’s one of those ones. If you are an experienced player you know it’s just mind games because they weren’t there to bottle it.

“That’s the way I look at it, but it does get the boys’ backs up and then it turns into an individual thing. Fraser did it last year, said something stupid. I’ve known him for years, since he was a young boy at Aberdeen, but he’s just said something and you’ve picked up on it and thought it would be a good headline. Us and Hibs always have that kind of snap about us when we play each other. You see it when the tackles are going in right in the first minute. I think Bairdy [Falkirk striker John Baird] just saw his chance to have a go at one of the boys who said something to the 
papers.

“I think that was the reason. It was premeditated maybe. There were a few wee bits and bobs, but you end up laughing about it don’t you? You fight your corner and do your best but you just shake hands at the end and say ‘well done, boys’.

“They’ve come out on top of us this year, we came out on top last year although we didn’t finish the job off.”

Hibs now, though, have the chance to finish the job off and take the one automatic promotion place, this victory having been achieved without skipper David Gray, who is nursing a hamstring problem, as well as midfielder John McGinn and goalkeeper Ofir Marciano who were away on international duty with Scotland and Israel.

And, going into the final straight, Lennon finds his squad strengthening almost by the day, Dylan McGeouch having started his first match since the beginning of January while defender Paul Hanlon made a cameo appearance towards the end of the game having overcome the pelvic problem which had dogged him for over two months.

Danny Handling, who hasn’t played first0team football for almost two years, took a seat on the bench.

Keatings said: “That shows the strength in depth in our squad that we were missing important players but didn’t let our standards slip.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403871.1490540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403871.1490540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Keatings fires home his brilliant winning goal","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings fires home his brilliant winning goal","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403871.1490540606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403872.1490540608!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403872.1490540608!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon congratulates Keatings","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon congratulates Keatings","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403872.1490540608!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-2-1-falkirk-james-keatings-stunner-puts-hibs-ten-clear-1-4403501","id":"1.4403501","articleHeadline": "Hibs 2-1 Falkirk: James Keatings stunner puts Hibs ten clear","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490462047000 ,"articleLead": "

Substitute James Keatings came up with a stunning winner two mintes into added on time as Hibs dumped Falkirk to stretch their lead at the top of the Championship table to ten points.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403500.1490461283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs defender Efe Ambrose battles with Falkirk's Craig Sibbald for the ball at Easter Road this afternoon, the two were later to score for their respective sides"} ,"articleBody": "

The game looked set to end in stalemate after Efe Ambrose had headed Hibs in front with his first goal for the Capital club only for Craig Sibbald to nod home an equaliser for the Bairns.

But then came that fantastic goal from Keatings, a superb curling right-footed shot which left Falkirk keeper Robbie Thomson beaten all ends up.

And with Morton suffering a surprise home defeat by Dunfermline it turned into what could well prove to be the pivotal moment in Hibs’ season.

With skipper David Gray missing with a hamstring injury, Hibs boss Neil Lennon was forced to reshape his back four. Ambrose was moved to right back and Jordon Forster partnered captain for the day Darren McGregor in the centre.

Games between these two clubs have never lacked bite and within a minute Falkirk’s Luke Leahy picked up a word of warning from referee Kevin Clancy for scything down Martin Boyle.

However, other than an early Leahy shot which flew high over, there was little to trouble either goalkeeper in the opening 25 minutes. The only other incident of note was former Hibs midfielder Tom Taiwo earning himself a booking for a foul on Andrew Shinnie.

Jason Cummings, for diving, Luca Gasparotto, for chopping down Shinnie, and Martin Boyle, for his reaction to that tackle, all followed Taiwo into the book in the space of a minute. Then Cummings was only inches away with a curling shot from the corner which resulted from that Gasparotto foul.

A minute before the interval Hibs lost Shinnie to a shoulder injury, his place taken by Keatings.

If Falkirk were to have any hope of overhauling Hibs at the top of the table they needed three points from this encounter and Bob McHugh’s flick presented John Baird with the chance to give the Bairns the lead in the 53rd minute but the striker hurried his shot wide.

Hibs felt they should have had a penalty two minutes later when Gasparotto appeared to nudge Cummings in the back as he went for Keatings cross but referee Kevin Clancy was unimpressed.

McHugh forced Ross Laidlaw in the Hibs goal into a terrific save, with Ambrose blocking Fraser Aird’s effort from the follow up as the game began to liven up. Ambrose was forced to head behind for a Bairns corner as Myles Hippolyte threatened to get on the end of Mark Kerr’s cross.

Clancy certainly wasn’t winning himself any friends among the home support as they roared for a penalty when Lewis Kidd appeared to use a hand, before Boyle was sent sprawling by Peter Grant. The ref awarded a corner before coming over to have a word with Lennon who clearly shared the view of the Hibs fans.

But Hibs finally broke the deadlock with 15 minutes remaining. Keatings delivered a fantastic cross after Grant had held down substitute striker Brian Graham and Ambrose glanced a header beyond Thomson from close range.

Their joy was short-lived however as Falkirk equalised within two minutes, Sibbald getting his head to Aird’s near post corner to beat Ross Laidlaw in the Hibs goal.

But Keatings had the final say as Hibs opened up a double digits lead at the top of the table.

Hibs: Laidlaw, Ambrose, McGregor, Forster (Hanlon 81), Stevenson, Boyle, McGeouch, Bartley, Shinnie (Keatings 44), Cummings, Holt (Graham 73)

Substitutes not used: Gallacher, Fyvie, Handling, S Martin.

Falkirk: Thomson, Kidd (Muirhead 81), Gasparotto, Grant. Leahy, Aird, Taiwo (Hippolyte 57), Kerr, Sibbald. McHugh (Austin 81), Baird.

Substitutes not used: Rogers, Miller, Shepherd. Craigen.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

" ,"byline": {"email": "david.hardie@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403500.1490461283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403500.1490461283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs defender Efe Ambrose battles with Falkirk's Craig Sibbald for the ball at Easter Road this afternoon, the two were later to score for their respective sides","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs defender Efe Ambrose battles with Falkirk's Craig Sibbald for the ball at Easter Road this afternoon, the two were later to score for their respective sides","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403500.1490461283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/lennon-urges-hibs-to-eliminate-falkirk-from-title-race-1-4402883","id":"1.4402883","articleHeadline": "Lennon urges Hibs to eliminate Falkirk from title race","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490423438000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon has claimed victory over Falkirk today will make it “virtually impossible” for the Bairns to pip the Easter Road club to the Championship title.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402882.1490378242!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon believes Hibs' recent strong run has been overlooked"} ,"articleBody": "

Falkirk arrive in Edinburgh seven points adrift of Hibs and level with fellow challengers Morton, the Capital outfit’s opponents on Wednesday night. Lennon is convinced the importance of these two fixtures will bring out the best in his players following the disappointment of a 2-2 draw with Dumbarton last weekend.

Admitting he’s looking for more energy, tempo and intensity than was shown during the first half against the Sons, Lennon said: “I think we are in a good position and the players have earned it. Sometimes, I might set the bar a little bit high for them but I know they can reach that. I just want them to do it on a more consistent basis.

“We didn’t lose against Dumbarton, we showed a lot of character to come back and draw. We thoroughly dominated the game in terms of possession and chances and that was the frustration. But Falkirk were beaten [by Morton] so we actually gained a point on them.

“Now we play them and I think if we win the game it will be virtually impossible for Falkirk to catch us.”

Lennon has warned his players to focus only on today’s game, pointing to Falkirk’s record of not having lost on their last six visits to Easter Road, a sequence which dates back to 2009. He said: “Our games this season have been pretty close and we’ve taken seven out of nine points from them.

“But we haven’t beaten them here for a while so it would be nice to take that record as well. Peter Houston sets his team up strong, they have goals in them. They work hard for each other and had put together a good run up to last weekend.

“However, we have been on a great run ourselves with only one defeat since the beginning of December which I think is overlooked sometimes. We are in a strong position but now we have to reinforce that.”

Lennon was at Easter Road on Wednesday midfielder to see Falkirk winger Fraser Aird star in Canada’s 1-1 draw with Scotland, the former Rangers youngster getting his first goal of his country as he opened the scoring.

While admitting he was impressed, Lennon insisted he was backing Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson to shackle the Falkirk player. He said: “Fraser Aird had an excellent game against Scotland – but I’m not sure if he has played that well for Falkirk. International matches are different from the cut and thrust of league games. We’ll have to keep an eye on him, but Lewis Stevenson is one of the best full-backs in the country – he’s been very consistent and Aird will have to have a very good game to get the better of him.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402882.1490378242!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402882.1490378242!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon believes Hibs' recent strong run has been overlooked","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon believes Hibs' recent strong run has been overlooked","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402882.1490378242!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/andrew-shinnie-why-do-hibs-have-to-suffer-1-4403011","id":"1.4403011","articleHeadline": "Andrew Shinnie: Why do Hibs have to suffer?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490423406000 ,"articleLead": "

Andrew Shinnie has admitted he is baffled by the rules which have robbed Hibs of key players John McGinn and Ofir Marciano for today’s crunch Championship clash with Falkirk.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403008.1490372577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Shinnie is baffled by the international rules"} ,"articleBody": "

The pair have departed on international duty, McGinn part of Gordon Strachan’s squad for tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifying match with Slovenia having won his fourth Scotland cap against Canada in midweek, while Marciano played for Israel in Spain last night.

However, despite their absence, Hibs are obliged to fulfil today’s fixtures, the rules and regulations only allowing them to seek a postponement if three players have been called up by their countries.

While there are no Premiership matches in Scotland today to take account of international fixtures throughout Europe, it’s obvious no-one in authority had foreseen the possibility of a Championship side having players in such a position.

Although delighted to see his team-mates’ performances with Hibs recognised by their respective countries, Shinnie, who watched McGinn in action in midweek on his home turf, said: “I thought John might have started, but at least he got a run out and it’s great for him to get another cap for Scotland.

“We want everyone who can play for Scotland to be there and I’d love John to play against Slovenia, it would be great for him, his career and Hibs.

“But the flip side is John is a massive player for us and, if he isn’t going to play (for Scotland) tomorrow, it would have been great to have him back. Ofir will be a miss as well because he has been playing well and he’s now Israel’s No.1.

“It’s a big game for us and I don’t know why the rules are the way they are. There won’t be many Championship teams with two international players called up.

“I don’t know why the international break isn’t for everyone. Why should a team suffer by losing some of its best players? If you are an international, the chances are you’ll be one of the most important players in your team. So if there’s a game, especially at this stage of the season, when you lose them it’s disappointing.”

The loss of McGinn and Marciano will be mitigated to an extent by the return to Hibs boss Neil Lennon’s plans of midfielders Fraser Fyvie and Dylan McGeouch from suspension and injury respectively while Ross Laidlaw has proved an able deputy for the Israeli goalkeeper having played in all three of this season’s games against Falkirk and emerging unbeaten from each.

Hibs won two of those matches and Shinnie admitted another victory ahead of Wednesday night’s visit from Morton, like the Bairns seven points adrift of the Championship leaders, would go a long way to helping Lennon’s players clinch the title and promotion.

Admitting to feeling a “little edge” to today’s encounter, Shinnie said: “They really like beating Hibs, but everyone wants to beat Hibs in this league. Falkirk are a tough team to play against, they’re always up and around the promotion spots. They kind of bottled it a little bit against Kilmarnock [in last season’s play-off final] and Killie had a big win on the day.

“But if they had turned up they would probably be playing in the Premiership now. So it will be a difficult game, but we are ready for it.

“A win would be big for us if we could get it and a big blow for them. We have a massive week ahead of us and Falkirk is the first game so that’s what we are preparing for.

“They’ll look at if and think if they can beat us they are maybe back in the race. We can’t let that happen. If we can get a good win it will be great for the confidence and it might put one of the other teams out of the race.”

Almost as important as points for Hibs is the fact games are quickly running out for both them and the teams chasing them, Lennon’s players having a match in hand over Falkirk while Morton have played on less than the Capital club and two fewer than the Bairns.

Shinnie, on loan for the season from Birmingham City, said: “It’s a massive period. There are not a lot of games left and we have Morton to play a couple of times. It’s a massive game, but that’s what you want to be involved in, trying to win a league and get promoted. Hibs are a big club and should be in the Premiership. It’s all very well for us to keep saying that, but unfortunately we got relegated and it’s up to us to get back up there now. However, this is a hard league, there are some good players in it and I think people look down on it a bit too much.”

Shinnie admitted that while all eyes are on clinching the title and ending three years in the Championship, he and his team-mates are aware they are also playing for a place in Lennon’s side to face Aberdeen in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup at the end of next month.

He said: “There are a lot of clubs going through the motions just now but we’re right in there with a chance to do the double which would be unbelievable.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403008.1490372577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403008.1490372577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andrew Shinnie is baffled by the international rules","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Shinnie is baffled by the international rules","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403008.1490372577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403009.1490372579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403009.1490372579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGinn","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403009.1490372579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403010.1490372580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403010.1490372580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ofir Marciano","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ofir Marciano","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403010.1490372580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibee-history-riordan-leads-fightback-against-falkirk-1-4402554","id":"1.4402554","articleHeadline": "Hibee History: Riordan leads fightback against Falkirk","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490423400000 ,"articleLead": "

IT wasn’t pretty. In fact, at times it was downright ugly. But Hibs boss John Hughes and his players didn’t care that this performance went down as somewhat less than aesthetically pleasing.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402553.1490353322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Riordan hits his free-kick which cleared the wall and curled home past Robert Olejnik"} ,"articleBody": "

It was mission accomplished, a third victory of the season over the Bairns bringing a further reward in helping Hibs leapfrog Motherwell into fourth place despite being only the team’s second win in ten matches.

However, no-one should underestimate the restorative influence victory can bring a side labouring as their confidence was sapped with each passing week.

Ropey the performance against Falkirk might have been at times, Hughes himself admitting his side rode their luck in stages but, if nothing else, the Hibs manager could reflect on how his players refused, as they might have done, to crumble when Mark Stewart pressed home the Bairns’ early dominance with the opening goal. Again, questions were being asked about the quality, or lack of it, in the Easter Road side’s defending.

Derek Riordan, though, came up with the perfect retort, delivering a trademark free-kick which soared over the defensive wall and curled down into goalkeeper Robert Olejnik’s right-hand corner less than two minutes later.

It was the Scotland star’s 15th goal of the season – although he insists it is 16, refusing to accept a League Cup strike against Brechin City which was recorded as an own goal isn’t his – and his fifth against the Bairns having helped Hibs come from behind at the Falkirk Stadium in August before delivering a double to sink them in Edinburgh at the end of November, a time when Hughes’s side were sweeping all before them.

Cast four points adrift at the foot of the SPL table, Falkirk’s confidence is as fragile as that of Hibs’, Steven Pressley’s players realising that matches are suddenly running out for them to ensure survival in the top flight again, having escaped the drop in the final minutes of last season.

And it showed as Hibs, who had seen Enoch Showunmi hit the bar and goalkeeper Graham Stack get a strong hand to a net-bound header from Brian McLean, took full advantage despite having lost playmaker Merouane Zemmama to injury after only 11 minutes, the little Moroccan devastated to have taken a knee knock on his return following a four-match absence.

Former Falkirk hitman Anthony Stokes saw his shot deflect off Marc Twaddle and beyond Olejnik – the sort of luck which seemed to have deserted him and his team-mates recently – before Sol Bamba got on the end of Colin Nish’s flick from David Wotherspoon’s cross to claim his second goal of the season – his other having come at this very same venue.

Hibs have been guilty of being incapable of holding on to a lead at times, but not on this occasion although Falkirk came close, Showunmi somehow missing from only a couple of yards out with an empty net before him while Darren Barr saw a header clip the top of the bar.

Stack was far busier than Olejnik at the other end although both Stokes and Riordan had opportunities to extend Hibs’ lead, leaving everyone in green and white just relieved to hear the final blast of referee Mike Tumilty’s whistle.

Hibs: Stack, Thicot, Hogg, Bamba, Murray, Zemmama, Rankin, Miller, Nish, Riordan, Stokes

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Falkirk 1, Hibs 3. March 27, 2010"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402553.1490353322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402553.1490353322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Derek Riordan hits his free-kick which cleared the wall and curled home past Robert Olejnik","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Riordan hits his free-kick which cleared the wall and curled home past Robert Olejnik","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402553.1490353322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-v-falkirk-preview-and-match-stats-1-4402986","id":"1.4402986","articleHeadline": "Hibs v Falkirk preview and match stats","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490371697000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs will be without key men John McGinn and Ofir Marciano for their match against Falkirk in the Ladbrokes Championship on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402985.1490371694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tom Taiwo saw red the last time Falkirk visited Easter Road"} ,"articleBody": "

Both the midfielder and the goalkeeper have received international call-ups from Scotland and Israel respectively, and will miss the top-of-the-table clash at Easter Road.

Falkirk were last at Easter Road in November when Paul Hanlon’s 83rd-minute equaliser spared Hibee blushes after John Baird had put the ten-man visitors ahead on the 77th minute. Ex-Hibs midfielder Tom Taiwo had earlier received a straight red card for a horror challenge on McGinn.

Hibs haven’t won at home against Falkirk since 2009, having played the Bairns six times at Easter Road since.

Dylan McGeouch and Ross Laidlaw look likely to replace McGinn and Marciano in central midfield and goal respectively, while Fraser Fyvie returns from suspension to add extra strength to the Hibs engine room. Neil Lennon is still without Liam Fontaine (ankle), Chris Humphrey (calf) and Danny Handling (fitness) through injury, while David Gray is a doubt with a tight hamstring.

Falkirk manager Peter Houston will be able to call on Canada’s goalscorer against Scotland in midweek, Fraser Aird, but 17-year-old left-back Tony Gallacher is with the Scotland under-19 squad in the Czech Republic. Midfielder Joe McKee is likely to be unavailable through injury.

A win for Hibs would put them ten points clear at the top of the Championship table ahead of the Bairns with a game in hand. Tomorrow’s match is the first of a crucial home double-header, with Morton visiting Easter Road on Wednesday.

Probable Hibs XI (4-4-2 Diamond): Laidlaw; Gray, McGregor, Ambrose, Stevenson; Bartley, McGeouch, Fyvie, Shinnie; Holt, Cummings

Probable Falkirk XI (4-4-2): Rogers; Kidd, Gasparotto, Grant, Leahy; Aird, Taiwo, Kerr, Sibbald; Baird, Austin.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Where and when: Easter Road, tomorrow, 3pm kick-off.

Click here for the match stats>>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CONOR MATCHETT"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402985.1490371694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402985.1490371694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tom Taiwo saw red the last time Falkirk visited Easter Road","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tom Taiwo saw red the last time Falkirk visited Easter Road","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402985.1490371694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/goal-difference-will-do-for-lennon-as-long-as-hibs-win-title-1-4402206","id":"1.4402206","articleHeadline": "Goal difference will do for Lennon as long as Hibs win title","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490337023000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon has admitted he’d happily win the Championship title by just a point or even on goal difference as the Easter Road outfit prepare to face their two biggest rivals in the space of just five days.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402205.1490302511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon knows the next two home games are crucial to Hibs' hopes"} ,"articleBody": "

The Capital club top the table by seven points from both Falkirk, whom they face at home tomorrow, and Morton, visitors to Easter Road on Wednesday, two crunch clashes which could prove crucial to their hopes of ending three seasons in the second tier of Scottish football.

While admitting his side had been guilty of dropping some vital points in recent weeks, Lennon insisted Hibs remain in “a very good position” having lost just once since the beginning of December with both Falkirk and Morton having proved incapable of taking full advantage of their slip-ups. Hibs, however, will go into tomorrow’s match against the Bairns without both goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and midfielder John McGinn – on international duty with Israel and Scotland respectively – a situation Lennon described as “surreal”, his side being forced to go ahead with such an important game while missing two key players.

Although he backed Ross Laidlaw as an able deputy for Marciano and can welcome back midfielders Fraser Fyvie and Dylan McGeouch from suspension and injury, Lennon insisted the loss of Marciano and McGinn was “definitely a hindrance” as far as Hibs were concerned.

Adamant the “historical rivalry” which exists between Hibs and Falkirk will see tomorrow’s game take care of itself, Lennon has called on his players to ditch the “Jekyll and Hyde” performances which have plagued them recently, pointing out that they were poor in the first half of their 2-2 draw with Dumbarton last week but great in the second.

He said: “We just need to bring those two halves together, if we do that then we’ll take some stopping. But we’ve only lost one game since the beginning of December so we’ve been pretty consistent. There’s been a frustration because we have played well and not won but overall I’ve been pretty pleased with the level of performance and the attitude and commitment of the players.”

With central defender Paul Hanlon back training after nearly three months out with a pelvic problem, Lennon’s injury problems are easing but, he revealed, skipper David Gray is rated doubtful for tomorrow with a tight hamstring.

He said: “Having Paul back training and Dylan and Fraser back we are stronger. I’m quietly confident we are moving in the right direction. If we win the league by a point or on goal difference it doesn’t really matter to me. Obviously, you’d like it to be a lot more comfortable, but we have put ourselves in a very good position.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402205.1490302511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402205.1490302511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon knows the next two home games are crucial to Hibs' hopes","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon knows the next two home games are crucial to Hibs' hopes","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402205.1490302511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/call-of-duty-brings-surreal-situation-for-hibs-boss-lennon-1-4402213","id":"1.4402213","articleHeadline": "Call of duty brings ‘surreal situation’ for Hibs boss Lennon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490337015000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs manager Neil Lennon has admitted to finding himself in a surreal situation, facing one of the Edinburgh club’s biggest games of the season but stripped of two key players because of international commitments.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402211.1490343668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn, right, battles with Stuart Armstrong during Scotland training yesterday"} ,"articleBody": "

Hibs meet Falkirk at home tomorrow, top of the Championship and seven points ahead of their opponents who, along with Morton, have emerged as their closest rivals for the title and the one automatic promotion place it carries.

But Lennon will be without both Scotland midfielder John McGinn – part of Gordon Strachan’s squad for Sunday night’s World Cup qualifying match against Slovenia – while goalkeeper Ofir Marciano is in Spain tonight as Israel hope to keep their interest in clinching a place in next year’s finals in Russia alive.

Hibs would have been granted dispensation had three players been called away on international duty but, with only two missing, they are obliged to go ahead with a fixture which could prove pivotal to their season’s over-riding target of ending three seasons in the second flight of Scottish football.

Although McGinn played only 14 minutes of Wednesday night’s friendly against Canada, Strachan afterwards indicated he’d be retaining the 22-year-old for Sunday’s Group F match at Hampden, Lennon acknowledging that while it was “fantastic” for the player “it’s not great for me”.

Lennon was at Easter Road to see McGinn play a cameo role in the 1-1 draw with Canada, the visitors’ goal having come from Falkirk’s Fraser Aird, the winger serving notice that he’ll be one to be watched tomorrow as the Hibs manager admitted.

“Fraser Aird was excellent,” said Lennon. “He was certainly Canada’s best player. He was a threat the whole night and I was very impressed. He scored a good goal and made some great runs. It definitely gave me some food for thought. There will be a confidence and familiarity for him going into the game tomorrow although I’m not sure he’s been playing that well for Falkirk.”

Having taken note of the potential danger of Aird, Lennon was more concerned with what he described as the hindrance of losing both McGinn and Marciano for such a crucial game. He said: “I spoke with John after the game on Wednesday night and he seemed in a good place. He has another cap won in front of his home crowd, so that’s pretty special.

“He will obviously be involved in some capacity in the game on Sunday which is fantastic for him. It’s not great for me, but he’s playing for his country.”

Hibs supporters had been holding out hope that with the likes of Celtic’s Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong and James Forrest available to face Slovenia after being rested in midweek, Strachan may release McGinn to play for his club in recognition of the importance of their league game the previous day.

But Lennon admitted he’s not counting on such a move, saying: “I’ve not spoken to Gordon about it. He is under Gordon’s jurisdiction with Scotland, he’s their player and if Gordon wasn’t going to use him then I’m sure I would know by now.

“It’s a bit of a surreal situation, really, that we have to go ahead with the game – a really important game – with two of our most important players going away with their country.

“I’m not sure if you would call it punishment, but it is definitely a hindrance.”

Ironically for Hibs, it has been Marciano’s performances for the club which have earned him a recall to the Israeli squad, the 26-year-old, who had previously made ten appearances for his country, having previously fallen out of favour under new coach Elisha Levy.

Lennon said: “Ofir has had a very good season and, once he got over his injuries, he’s been very consistent. It just shows what a good season we are having that it has got Ofir back into the Israel manager’s thinking while John has been involved with Scotland for the last 18 months.”

Ross Laidlaw will deputise for Marciano, the former Raith Rovers goalkeeper having taken over from his team-mate in each of Hibs’ three Championship matches with Falkirk earlier in the season and emerging unbeaten with two wins and a draw to his name.

The return of Fraser Fyvie from suspension will also help compensate for the loss of McGinn with another midfielder Dylan McGeouch also back in the frame for tomorrow while both McGinn and Marciano will have rejoined Lennon’s squad for the equally crucial game with Morton on Wednesday, two matches which the Hibs manager admitted could go a long way to determining the destination of the title.

He will, however, be looking for his players to ditch the “Jekyll and Hyde” performances of late in which they have dropped more than a few precious points although, as Falkirk boss Peter Houston admitted, those chasing Hibs have failed to take advantage of those slip-ups.

Lennon said: “Against Dumbarton, we were poor first half, great second half. We need to bring those two halves together and if we do, then we’ll take some stopping. Falkirk will take care of itself. There’s a bit of historical rivalry, if you want to call it that. If we win we possibly make it impossible for them to win the league and then we have Morton at home, another big game.

“In the games we have dropped points we have generally been the dominant team. Only in a couple have we not been at the level we can play. In the others we have dominated possession, chances, attempts on goal, all those stats have shown we’ve been the stronger team. That’s why you get frustrated, because we’ve played well and not won.

“I understand where Peter is coming from, but I am probably more frustrated than anyone.

“You set standards, maybe a wee bit too high for them at the end of the day. But we’ve only lost one game since the beginning of December, so we’ve been pretty consistent. There’s been a frustration but overall I have been pretty pleased with the level of performance, the attitude and commitment of the players.”

Having previously stated he doesn’t much care how Hibs win matches so long as they take the three points from each, Lennon admitted he’s also not too fussy as to how the title is won. He said: “If we win the league by a point or on goal difference it doesn’t really matter to me. Obviously I would like it to be a lot more comfortable, but we have put ourselves in a very good position.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402211.1490343668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402211.1490343668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGinn, right, battles with Stuart Armstrong during Scotland training yesterday","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn, right, battles with Stuart Armstrong during Scotland training yesterday","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402211.1490343668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402212.1490343672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402212.1490343672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ofir Marciano will line up for Israel against Spain tonight","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ofir Marciano will line up for Israel against Spain tonight","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402212.1490343672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-star-john-mcginn-to-remain-in-scotland-camp-1-4401138","id":"1.4401138","articleHeadline": "Hibs star John McGinn to remain in Scotland camp","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490250611000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs midfielder John McGinn will stay with Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad as they prepare for Sunday’s “must-win” World Cup qualifying clash with Slovenia – putting him out of the reckoning for the Capital side’s crucial Championship match against Falkirk the previous day.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4401137.1490223501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGInn battles with Canada's Scott Arfield"} ,"articleBody": "

McGinn got only 14 minutes as a second-half substitute in last night’s 1-1 draw with Canada at Easter Road but will remain with the international squad rather than return to his club.

Whether or not McGinn is involved at Hampden this weekend remains to be seen with Strachan having a number of players such Celtic skipper Scott Brown, James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong – who didn’t play against the Canadians – to recall. And Strachan admitted his side will have to be better at Hampden although he insisted playing the Canadians was “one of the better decisions” he had made, adamant he learned a lot he can put to use against Slovenia.

He said: “It cleared up a lot of things. It’s helped a lot of players, helped the coaching staff in particular to where we are going on Sunday, so we learned quite a few things.

“It wasn’t a great night. It won’t be a memorable in anybody’s memory at the end of their careers but it was invaluable for me to use the information we collected on Sunday.

“I think a lot of players found it hard. To use a golfing analogy, it’s hard to take two months off and then go and play in the Masters. It wasn’t the easiest pitch to play on with the conditions and to find your form in an international match on a night like that was hard.

“You could see in the first ten or 15 minutes that spooked us for a bit. We could have been braver with passes but when you have not played a lot of games it’s hard to switch on and do that.

“We’ll need to be better on Sunday unless we are very lucky, But we don’t want luck in it, we have to be better. So tonight helped us a lot. A lot of players would have liked to have played a bit better but we just have to deal with it.

“It’s very hard to play at international level when you are not firing on all cylinders in your club game. But we needed to find that out.

“We learned a lot. I wouldn’t say it makes things easier, but clearer.”

Strachan confirmed that Bournemouth midfielder Ryan Fraser is highly doubtful for Sunday, the former Aberdeen player having missed out on an international debut with a knee injury. He said: “His knee is swollen. We don’t take any chances with players. It’s up to them to decide if they are fit or not. We want to make sure he is all right for his club.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4401137.1490223501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4401137.1490223501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGInn battles with Canada's Scott Arfield","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGInn battles with Canada's Scott Arfield","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4401137.1490223501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/oli-shaw-will-force-way-into-hibs-contention-says-neil-lennon-1-4398947","id":"1.4398947","articleHeadline": "Oli Shaw will force way into Hibs contention, says Neil Lennon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490164258000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon expects teenage scoring sensation Oli Shaw to force his way into the Hibs first-team squad next season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398946.1490172976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oli Shaw has been a prolific goalscorer for the Hibs Development XI this season. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The striker, who turned 19 earlier this month, is currently in the Czech Republic with Scotland Under-19s, who play the first of their three Euro 2017 elite round matches against Austria today. They then face the Czechs on Friday and Hungary on Sunday, with the winners of the four-team section progressing to the finals in Georgia in July.

Shaw, pictured, goes into the matches in the Czech city of Zlin in buoyant mood after notching 21 goals – including two hat-tricks – for the high-flying Easter Road development team so far this season. In addition, the red-hot hitman has scored three times during 18 first-team appearances on loan at League One strugglers Stenhousemuir.

Hibs manager Lennon is excited by Shaw’s emergence as one of the top teenage prospects in the country and is confident the young goal machine possesses the required mentality to soon start making his presence felt in the Easter Road first team. “I’ve been really impressed with Oli,” he told the Evening News. “Certainly his form in the development team over the past few months has been fantastic. He’s a standout at that level. At times he looks heads shoulders above the opposition. That’s all well and good at development level, but the gap between that and the first team is huge. He needs to bridge that gap, but I’m sure he will.

“God willing, if we get promotion, Oli will certainly be a part of the squad going into next season. If he wasn’t on loan at Stenhousemuir he’d be in the squad now. It’ll be an important summer for him, but he’s certainly shown plenty for me to be able to say ‘yeah, come and be part of it next year.’ I’ve been delighted with his progress this year.”

Lennon feels Shaw is benefitting from sampling senior football at Stenhousemuir and believes the youngster is only going to get better as he bulks up physically. “Hopefully he’ll have gained good experience from his loan stint at Stenhousemuir in terms of the nuts and bolts of the game and scoring goals,” said the Hibs manager. “He’s improved his play back to goal, he’s quick and his movement’s good. He’s an excellent finisher. He’s got good feet and his physicality has improved in terms of being able to lead the line, but I think he needs to put on a few pounds because he’s still got that gangly frame. He needs to put a bit more muscle on his upper body, but I think he’ll do that. His attitude’s very good. I think he’s hungry – he really wants it, which is a good sign.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398946.1490172976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398946.1490172976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Oli Shaw has been a prolific goalscorer for the Hibs Development XI this season. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oli Shaw has been a prolific goalscorer for the Hibs Development XI this season. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398946.1490172976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/danny-handling-on-target-in-hibs-under-20s-victory-at-kilmarnock-1-4399305","id":"1.4399305","articleHeadline": "Danny Handling on target in Hibs Under-20s victory at Kilmarnock","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490131254000 ,"articleLead": "

Danny Handling scored for Hibs Under-20s as they stayed in the SPFL Development League title race with a 2-1 win away at Kilmarnock.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4399304.1490131250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Handling continued his recovery from injury with a goal for Hibs Under-20s. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The hosts had taken the lead through Jack Whittaker, but second-half strikes from Handling and Sean Mackie gave Grant Murray’s men all three points.

Shorn of their red-hot striker Oli Shaw, who is on international duty with Scotland Under-19s, the young Hibees got off to the worst possible start on five minutes when Scott McLean got to the byeline and fired over an inviting cross for Whittaker to head past Patrick Martin in the Hibs goal.

Fortunes at Rugby Park did not improve for the visitors on 20 minutes when defender Callum Crane was taken off injured, but they finished the first half the better of the two teams despite not being able to find an equaliser.

The leveller, however, came 63 minutes when Handling – who is on the road back to fitness after a long-term knee injury – fired the ball beyond Devlin Mackay.

Buoyed by that goal, Hibs went in search of the winner and their efforts were rewarded on 77 minutes when substitute Mackie picked the ball up on the left-hand side and rattled home an unstoppable strike to clinch the three points.

Killie searched for a response of their own, but Hibs managed to see out the match without too many scares.

Murray’s men now move up into third place in the Development League table, a point behind Hamilton in second place – Accies have played a game extra – and three points behind leaders Ross County. Their next match is at home to St Johnstone on Tuesday, March 28.

Hibs Development XI: P Martin, Donaldson, Crane (Watson 20), McLean, Waugh, Stirling, I Murray (Mackie 66), S Martin, Gullan, Handling, F Murray. Unused sub: Dabrowski.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4399304.1490131250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4399304.1490131250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Handling continued his recovery from injury with a goal for Hibs Under-20s. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Handling continued his recovery from injury with a goal for Hibs Under-20s. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4399304.1490131250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/win-a-place-for-your-child-at-the-hibernian-community-foundation-easter-football-camp-1-4398693","id":"1.4398693","articleHeadline": "Win a place for your child at the Hibernian Community Foundation Easter football camp","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490104847000 ,"articleLead": "

The Edinburgh Evening News has teamed up with the Hibernian Community Foundation to offer three readers the chance to each win a place for their child on an Easter holidays football camp at Hibs’ Training Centre at East Mains, Tranent.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398945.1490111909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "."} ,"articleBody": "

Running Monday-Friday on the weeks beginning April 3 and April 10, the camps are the perfect way for boys and girls aged from 4 to 14 years to spend the holidays in a fun and safe football environment. The professional team of HCF coaches will deliver technique focused sessions that will challenge the kids to maximise their potential within fun sessions replicating that of the first team and the Academy.

HOW TO ENTER

To have a chance of winning this great prize, simply answer the following question . .

Who scored Hibs’ winning goal in last May’s Scottish Cup Final?

Send your answer to ensportfinal@edinburghnews.com along with your name, address, and telephone number, stating your child’s name and age.

Please state which week (beginning either April 3 or April 10) and which length of session (either 9am-5pm, 10am-3pm or 10am-12pm) would suit best.

Title your email ‘HCF football camp’.

Closing date is 11.59pm on Thursday, March 23.

To book or for further details on the Hibernian Easter Camps call 0131 656 7062 or email kmcewan@hiberniancommunityfoundation.org.uk

Website www. hiberniancommunityfoundation.org.uk

Twitter @hibsincommunity

Terms and conditions

The information provided will only be used by the Hibernian Community Foundation for counting and communication purposes. The Hibernian Community Foundation will not distribute information to third parties.

The winning entry will be selected by the editor. There is no cash or prize alternative. Standard JP competition terms and conditions apply. These can be found at www.johnstonpress.co.uk/jpplc/competition/

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398945.1490111909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398945.1490111909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398945.1490111909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-boss-can-be-scary-but-it-makes-you-stronger-ambrose-1-4398147","id":"1.4398147","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss can be scary but it makes you stronger – Ambrose","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490077853000 ,"articleLead": "

Efe Ambrose has seen Hibs boss Neil Lennon lose his rag many times, but he still remembers with a shudder when he was the sole target of his manager’s wrath.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398145.1490033765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Efe Ambrose was delighted to be asked to help Hibs achieve their dream of promotion"} ,"articleBody": "

One poor pass was all it took for Lennon to turn his rage on the Nigerian defender, his mistake leading to a red card for Celtic team-mate Virgil Van Dijk as the Hoops lost their first and only league game that season. “It was scary,” admitted Ambrose. “It was one bad pass early on against Aberdeen at Pittodrie and ended with Virgil being sent off. We ended up 2-0 down at half-time and, although we got a goal back we still lost.

“The manager was so angry with me. It was the first time he’d had a go at me, but he’s done that many times.”

A below-par performance against Dumbarton last weekend provoked a similar outburst from Lennon, the Easter Road head coach revealing that if his players’ efforts hadn’t seen them break into a sweat then they certainly did so by the time he’d finished castigating them at half-time.

But, while it may be somewhat uncomfortable to be on the receiving end, Ambrose is convinced it’s that refusal to countenance even the slightest drop in standards that will help drive Hibs to the Championship title.

And Ambrose insisted he had no problem with Lennon venting his anger when he felt the need, saying: “If you are not doing well he will come for you. But he only wants the best for you, for you to become a better player.

“When it’s said it’s forgotten, you know you have to do much better, that you have to work on your game and make sure it doesn’t happen again. He’s a tough guy but it makes you strong mentally.

“At the same time, though, if you do well he will give you the praise, the credit you deserve.

“His desire is to win every game and I can see his personality hasn’t changed since we were at Celtic together. If you play badly he lets you know. You can’t be a winning player if you don’t have that mentality and, if you don’t have that, then he doesn’t want you.”

Lennon’s exasperation at watching his players produce outstanding performances against Hearts in the Scottish Cup and then at Tannadice when they all but ended Dundee United’s own Championship title hopes only to stumble against the likes of Ayr United, Dunfermline and now Dumbarton at home has been all too evident in recent weeks.

But Ambrose, on loan until the end of the season, has no doubts Lennon’s own experiences of winning titles and trophies both as a player and manager will come to the fore over the next few weeks as the title race goes down to the wire.

The 28-year-old said: “He’s not happy but, at the same time, he knows the game. He knows what we need to do and we won’t let this opportunity pass.

“He’s been in this position so often before, both as a player and a manager and he knows how to manage a team at this stage of the season. To work with him is a privilege and he’ll have us working hard at the training ground every day because that’s where the preparation is done to win the games.

“You have to deal with the weather, the condition of the pitches, how the opposition are going to set up, he knows all these things.

“We are in a great position but, at the same time, it is difficult because every team wants to beat you. Every game we play between now and the end of the season will be the same but I believe the boys realise that playing every one of them as if it was a cup final is what is needed to get us back to the Premiership and they are ready to do that.

“The title isn’t yet over so we have to focus, train hard and make sure we are ready for the next game.”

The next game comes on Saturday at home to Falkirk, a fixture which is quickly followed by a visit from Morton, the two teams who are now Hibs’ closest rivals with Dundee United having rapidly lost touch with the top of the table.

However, insisted Ambrose: “People will be saying if we win these two then the league will be over. But we don’t think that way. Falkirk is the most important game because it is the next one, only after that can we begin to look forward to Morton.”

Seven points separate Hibs from the Bairns and Morton, Falkirk having played a game more and Jim Duffy’s side a match fewer after the Cappielow club came out on top as the two went head-to-head at the weekend, that result, claimed Ambrose, making the draw he and his team-mates had earned earlier in the day a more positive outcome
 than was initially thought.

He said: “We weren’t good in the first half against Dumbarton and were a goal behind. But we came back to equalise only to lose another goal and then miss a penalty.

“But the mentality of the squad shone through as we put all of that behind us to equalise again by going right to the final whistle and, at the end of the day, that sort of point can win you the league.”

While his stay at Easter Road may be temporary, Ambrose insisted he is determined to play his part in helping steer Hibs back to the top flight, revealing the presence of Lennon had helped convince him to swap Celtic Park – where he had completely fallen out of new manager Brendan Rodgers’ plans – for Championship football.

He said: “Everyone wants to play in the Premiership but I’ve watched the Championship these last two years and I’ve seen how difficult a league it is.

“But for me football is the same wherever you play, it doesn’t matter who you are playing – if you are not prepared you can be beaten by anyone.

“I’m here to do my best, to give all I can and at the same time help everyone here achieve the same goal, to get this big club back into the Premiership.

“I know it’s a big club having played against Hibs for Celtic and by my reckoning they are one of the best four in Scotland.

“It was great when the gaffer called me and asked if I wanted to come here. Hopefully my experience can help, but it’s not about Efe Ambrose, it’s a collective thing, something we have to do together. It is difficult to win any league but the boys have been in this one for two years now and they are desperate to win the title and promotion.

“You can also see what it means to the fans. To be getting average home gates of more than 15,000 when you’d think a third season in the Championship would see crowds falling is fantastic.

“I’ve been really happy with the welcome I’ve had from the Hibs support and the encouragement they have given me. Scottish football needs Hibs back in the top flight.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398145.1490033765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398145.1490033765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Efe Ambrose was delighted to be asked to help Hibs achieve their dream of promotion","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Efe Ambrose was delighted to be asked to help Hibs achieve their dream of promotion","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398145.1490033765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398146.1490033768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398146.1490033768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ambrose worked with Lennon at Celtic","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ambrose worked with Lennon at Celtic","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398146.1490033768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/marvin-bartley-i-let-hibs-team-mates-down-at-penalty-1-4398116","id":"1.4398116","articleHeadline": "Marvin Bartley: I let Hibs team-mates down at penalty","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490077811000 ,"articleLead": "

Marvin Bartley has admitted letting his Hibs team-mates down by gifting Dumbarton the needless penalty which helped cost the Championship title favourites precious points.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398115.1490106268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marvin Bartley felt he should have used his experience more"} ,"articleBody": "

Neil Lennon’s side were forced to settle for a sixth home draw of the season as Christian Nade slotted home the spot-kick, cancelled out by an own goal from Daniel Harvie only for Robert Thomson to fire Dumbarton ahead again before Martin Boyle equalised for a second time.

However, with Morton beating Falkirk, the damage done was limited as those clubs were left trailing Hibs by seven points. The Bairns visit Easter Road this weekend while Jim Duffy’s Ton are in Leith a week on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, 30-year-old Bartley conceded his error had played a part in preventing Hibs opening up a bigger advantage at the top of the table, saying: “We knew we needed to win to keep the pressure on the teams behind us, especially with second and third playing each other. It was extremely frustrating. We let ourselves down with the result and, on a personal level, I let the lads down by giving away the penalty. At my age and with my experience, it should not be happening.”

Referee Gavin Duncan had no hesitation in pointing to the spot as Bartley tripped Dumbarton’s Andy Stirling inches inside the penalty area, the midfielder explaining: “The ball had popped out. I didn’t see the guy and went to toe-poke it away. I haven’t seen it again, but I’m assuming he has maybe put his foot in the way and gone down. It’s part and parcel of football but I should have been aware he was there.”

Bartley believes Hibs had made it easy for Thomson to claim his goal to put the Sons 2-1 ahead. And, with Easter Road striker James Keatings seeing a penalty saved before Boyle managed to salvage a point, Bartley insisted Lennon’s players should have won the game on chances created.

He was adamant, though, the title remains very much in Hibs’ hands, particularly if they can beat Falkirk and Morton in the next eight days. He told Hibs TV: “If we win all our games, we win the league – it’s that simple.”

Hibs have announced tickets for their Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen at Hampden on Saturday, April 22 will go on sale from Friday, March 31. Full details are on the club website.

Meanwhile, the Easter Road club’s Championship match against Morton at Cappielow on Saturday, April 8, will be all-ticket following discussions between the clubs.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398115.1490106268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398115.1490106268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marvin Bartley felt he should have used his experience more","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marvin Bartley felt he should have used his experience more","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398115.1490106268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/deadline-looms-for-amateur-teams-looking-for-neil-lennon-s-help-1-4397706","id":"1.4397706","articleHeadline": "Deadline looms for amateur teams looking for Neil Lennon’s help","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490011433000 ,"articleLead": "

Amateur football teams in Edinburgh and the Lothians have until midnight tonight to secure a training session with Hibs head coach Neil Lennon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397704.1490011426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Could Neil Lennon be coaching your amateur team? Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Marathonbet, the official partner of the Easter Road club, have teamed up with Lennon and Hibs to offer amateur outfits the chance to win the services of the Northern Irishman.

Several teams have already entered and even more are encouraged to send a message to Marathonbet explaining why the need Lennon’s help or to record a video.

Teams can submit their entries on social media, either via Marathonbet’s Facebook account or on Twitter using the handle @marathonbet.

The deadline for the competition is at 11.59pm today.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397704.1490011426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397704.1490011426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Could Neil Lennon be coaching your amateur team? Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Could Neil Lennon be coaching your amateur team? Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397704.1490011426!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/michael-weir-hibs-are-doing-it-the-hard-way-1-4397234","id":"1.4397234","articleHeadline": "Michael Weir: Hibs are doing it the hard way","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489991455000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s reached the stage now where we’ve just got to accept that Hibs are going to do it the hard way.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397233.1489945389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dumbarton goalkeeper Alan Martin pulls off a save to deny Hibs' Grant Holt. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

For most of the season, I’ve been waiting for us to pull away and tie up the title with a bit of comfort, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

The simple fact is we’ve been too inconsistent to run away with it, just as we were in our two previous seasons in this division. We’ve just been fortunate that, until this point, we’ve not had a genuine rival able to go toe-to-toe with us over the course of this season. That could all change in the coming weeks, though, depending how our next two games against Falkirk and Morton go. Those two are still in the mix, especially Morton, and the key thing from their perspective is that there is no pressure on them, while there is massive pressure on us.

Morton probably didn’t even expect to be in the play-offs, never mind challenging us for the title. They have nothing to lose, so they are a real danger to us. As well as our games against Falkirk and Morton, we also still have to face teams like Raith Rovers and St Mirren who are fighting for their lives, so it’s not going to be straightforward.

But at this stage of the season, we can’t allow negativity to creep in. We are still the best team in the league and we just need to focus on getting over the line by hook or by crook. We can reflect and analyse our failings at the end of the season and the manager can then try and address them for next season. But the main thing is that we’re doing that ahead of our return to the Premiership.

It feels like every week I’m looking at things from a different angle. Sometimes, like last week, it feels like we’re nearly there and other times, like now, it feels like we’ve got a lot of work still to do. But I would be pretty confident that, if we win our next two games, we’ll be all but promoted. These matches against Falkirk and Morton are massive, and the fact there’s so much riding on them should help us because, as everyone is well aware, we are generally at our best in the high-profile matches.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397233.1489945389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397233.1489945389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dumbarton goalkeeper Alan Martin pulls off a save to deny Hibs' Grant Holt. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dumbarton goalkeeper Alan Martin pulls off a save to deny Hibs' Grant Holt. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397233.1489945389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/christian-nade-should-have-been-sent-off-against-hibs-1-4397204","id":"1.4397204","articleHeadline": "Christian Nade ‘should have been sent off against Hibs’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489991453000 ,"articleLead": "

Jordon Forster today claimed former Hearts striker Christian Nade should have been sent off for taking a swing at him as the pair clashed during Hibs’ disappointing draw with Dumbarton.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397203.1489939991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christian Nade was involved in a fracas with Jordon Forster (partly hidden) during Hibs-Dumbarton. Forster later claimed that the striker ought to have dismissed. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Both players were booked by referee Gavin Duncan after tussling for the ball after it had gone out of play as Hibs trailed by 2-1, a Nade penalty and a strike from Robert Thomson coming either side of an own goal from Sons defender Daniel Harvie.

A late header from Martin Boyle salvaged a point for the Easter Road outfit, who are seven points clear at the top of the Championship table. They are ahead of both Falkirk and Morton and they play both at home in their next two games.

But Forster was convinced Dumbarton should have ended the game a man down for the final 13 minutes, the visitors’ manager Stevie Aitken immediately replacing Nade although he claimed it was because his striker was tiring.

Forster said: “I don’t want to say anything to get myself in trouble with the officials, but I think it was clear for everyone to see what happened. Make up your own mind. In my eyes it was not the best decision. I make mistakes, I think the ref has made a mistake.”

Asked if, as it appeared, he had been slapped in the face by Nade, the Hibs defender said: “He lifted his hands to me, there was contact.

“Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a Mike Tyson punch but he definitely made contact and by the rules of the game it’s definitely a sending off. It’s the ref’s job to make a decision. In my eyes, it was maybe the wrong one but he has seen what he has seen and made his decision. In my eyes it was a sending off and not a yellow card.”

For his part Nade claimed: “I don’t remember about the incident. It happened so fast, someone pushed me and I reacted. Maybe I shouldn’t have.”

While Forster agreed the flashpoint was a “talking point”, he regarded the final result as two points dropped by the title chasers, admitting they’d drawn too many games – six of the 13 played – at home.

He said: “Everyone is frustrated. Things can be said and blown out of all proportion, but we have dropped too many points at home, drawn too many games.

“We need to look at ourselves and sort out our home form if we want to win the league and get promoted.”

Admitting there may have been a “psychological” impact from having gone from beating Dundee United at Tannadice in front of the television cameras to struggling against part-time Dumbarton, Forster said: “It’s got to be the problem, mentally, otherwise on paper we were the better team and on the pitch by far the better team.

“We never started properly, a bit of slackness crept in. You see it, teams on a high and then a few days later they drop points or they are beaten. It’s finding the balance.”

Forster agreed that having six of their final nine league matches at home should represent a big advantage for Hibs in the final charge for the title and believes the upcoming visits from Falkirk and Morton, now their closest challengers, should see Neil Lennon’s players lift their game.

Reckoning both the Bairns and Falkirk won’t be able to adopt Dumbarton’s tactics of sitting in and trying to frustrate as they desperately need to try to close the gap on Hibs, the 23-year-old said: “We are still top of the league and the next two at home are massive for us.

“We’ll make sure we prepare for them.

“It’s almost easier in a sense to sit behind the ball as Dumbarton did – although they did it well – and this season we’ve struggled to break teams down, we haven’t scored enough goals.

“We conceded two sloppy goals against Dumbarton and on the whole we should have won the game. We had enough chances but we need to score more goals. The performance was fine, but the result is what counts.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397203.1489939991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397203.1489939991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christian Nade was involved in a fracas with Jordon Forster (partly hidden) during Hibs-Dumbarton. Forster later claimed that the striker ought to have dismissed. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christian Nade was involved in a fracas with Jordon Forster (partly hidden) during Hibs-Dumbarton. Forster later claimed that the striker ought to have dismissed. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397203.1489939991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/john-mcginn-managers-can-decide-my-hibs-scotland-involvement-1-4397232","id":"1.4397232","articleHeadline": "John McGinn: Managers can decide my Hibs-Scotland involvement","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489991439000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs midfielder John McGinn insists his full focus this week is on trying to force his way into contention for Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on Sunday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397230.1489945215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn hopes to be involved in Scotland's match with Slovenia on Sunday. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

As things stand, the 22-year-old is due to miss his club’s crunch Championship clash with Falkirk on Saturday after being called up to the national squad.

With McGinn deemed more likely to feature in the Easter Road friendly against Canada on Wednesday than the match against Slovenia, Hibs manager Neil Lennon indicated last week that he hoped his Scotland counterpart Gordon Strachan might release the midfielder to face the Bairns on Saturday if he isn’t planning to utilise him on Sunday evening.

The former St Mirren player insists he will be staying out of any discussions to this effect and is willing to play in whichever matches Strachan and Lennon decide. However, his priority is ensuring he is involved in a Hampden showdown with the Slovenians which Scotland must win if they are to revive their fading World Cup hopes.

“I’m a Scotland player for the week and looking forward to the Canada game and, if I get the chance to show what I can do, then I want to stake a claim for the Slovenia game,” said McGinn. “I’ll let the managers [Strachan and Lennon] decide what will happen at the weekend, but I am more than happy to be in the squad. It’s not a conversation I’m going to have with the manager, that is for them to decide.

“I will just focus on my training and whatever happens, happens. I will always be willing to play in any game I am needed but, first and foremost the country is the most important thing and it is a massive game on Sunday. If I can help the squad at all, then I will be there. My mindset has to be to impress on Wednesday and give myself the best chance to be involved on Sunday.”

McGinn is hopeful that his friend and Hibs team-mate Jason Cummings will soon follow him into the Scotland set-up. The 21-year-old striker outlined his desire over the weekend to earn full international recognition. McGinn said: “Jason is a confident lad and he just needs to keep playing well and scoring goals, like he has been doing. He is fully aware of the quality we possess in the front area and he has plenty of time on his side.

“If he keeps playing the way he has been then I’m sure he will impress people but, for the time being, there is no-one really he could replace. I think if the manager called on him, he would be ready, but you can’t pick everyone and Jason knows that. He is a top player, a great team-mate and hopefully one day along the line he will be 
involved.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397230.1489945215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397230.1489945215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGinn hopes to be involved in Scotland's match with Slovenia on Sunday. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn hopes to be involved in Scotland's match with Slovenia on Sunday. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397230.1489945215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397231.1489945221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397231.1489945221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "McGinn is joined by the Mars Just Play competition winner Graeme Richardson at Oriam. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "McGinn is joined by the Mars Just Play competition winner Graeme Richardson at Oriam. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397231.1489945221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-reaction-neil-lennon-furious-after-another-home-slip-up-1-4397236","id":"1.4397236","articleHeadline": "Hibs reaction: Neil Lennon furious after another home slip-up","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489991423000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs remain, as they have been since before a ball was kicked, firm favourites to win the Championship title. But it has become a long, drawn out affair for Neil Lennon’s players who appear determined to spurn any opportunity to get things wrapped up as quickly as possible.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397235.1489945564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle falls into the net after scoring Hibs' second equaliser to make it 2-2"} ,"articleBody": "

Time after time in recent weeks the chance has arisen for them to put an unassailable distance between themselves and the chasing pack, just one win in their past six league games highlighting that apparent lack of a killer touch.

The Capital club retain a healthy lead at the top of the table, their victory against Dundee United having all but ended the Tannadice outfit’s interest in taking the flag with Morton and Falkirk now their closest challengers, seven points adrift with Jim Duffy’s players having played a game less and the Bairns one more.

Falkirk and then Morton are next up for Hibs, both games at Easter Road where, to be brutally honest, Lennon’s players have singularly failed to hammer home the advantage of playing at home in front of crowds averaging some 15,000.

Only one match has been lost on their own turf but of the 13 played, six have ended in draws such as this latest offering against Dumbarton, a game Lennon saw as an opportunity for his side to make the most of having six of their last nine fixtures played in Edinburgh.

On paper Dumbarton represented possibly the easiest of three successive games at Easter Road but, as so often has been the case, not only this season, Hibs made heavy weather of it just as they had done the visits of Ayr United and Dunfermline in the past few weeks, two teams in the lower half of the table.

In essence Hibs were a shadow of the “magnificent” side which had travelled to Tayside eight days earlier and secured a narrow but deserved win which ought to have acted as a springboard for the final stretch.

And, of course, they knew what was coming from a Dumbarton team they’d already defeated three times this season, a side which would get every body behind the ball when out of possession, seeking to frustrate and to hopefully hit on the break.

To that end Sons manager Stevie Aitken got his tactics spot-on, although aided by a laboured performance from a Hibs side shorn by suspension of the services of top scorer Jason Cummings and midfielder Fraser Fyvie.

Even so, the Capital team should have contained enough craft and guile, enough firepower, to take care of their part-time opposition with Aitken able only to name five rather than seven substitutes.

Rather than play at a pace and tempo which would stretch their opposite numbers, Hibs, as Lennon admitted, were pedestrian, allowing Dumbarton to funnel back to get a bank of four and another of five in place in front of goalkeeper Alan Martin, presenting the home side with that all too familiar problem they’ve found virtually impossible to solve, how to unlock a packed defence.

That said, Dumbarton offered little or no threat of their own until Marvin Bartley inexplicably gave Ross McCrorie a push in the back, the challenge taking place inches inside the penalty area but with McCrorie facing the touchline and presenting no danger whatsoever.

“It was a joke,” fumed Lennon, “He was going nowhere.” Christian Nade, who else, stepped up to slot home the resulting spot-kick before the Hibs boss got the chance during the interval to singe the ears of his mis-firing side.

Lennon said: “I’m not even sure if we had a sweat on at half-time, but they certainly did after I had finished with them. I was really frustrated with the first half performance, it was not acceptable.

“It’s nothing I’m doing, Managers take responsibility a lot, but it was nothing to do with tactics. We were pedestrian, clumsy, sloppy, all the things we gave them warnings about before the game and they just go out and do it.

“I’m sick of them doing this and I’m sick of us dropping points at home for not approaching games the right way.

“I don’t know whether it was a loss of concentration or whether the atmosphere wasn’t enough for them but they’ve got to go out and create it for themselves. It’s too inconsistent.

“I feel it’s not me you should be asking, you should be asking the players because I sound like a broken down record. We gave them all the warnings how to approach it.

“We were terrific against Dundee United, but there were too many errors.”

The obvious reward of getting the ball forward quicker shone through as Lewis Stevenson played a raking ball down the line to find John McGinn’s charge, the midfielder then whipping a first time cross into the danger area where Dumbarton defender Daniel Harvie turned it into his own net.

Dumbarton’s fun was over, or so the home fans thought, only for Nade to get the jump on Efe Ambrose to nod the ball on for the unmarked Robert Thomson to drill a low shot beyond Ofir Marciano, again an avoidable goal.

Lennon moaned: “I was pleased with the second-half performance, we got ourselves back into the game early but then we switch off again and they score with a punt, knock on and a shot. No matter what level of the game you are at, if you switch off you will get punished.”

Again Hibs’ response was commendable, winning a penalty as Darren Barr held down Grant Holt only for James Keatings, given a rare chance to start up-front, to see his spot-kick saved by Dumbarton goalkeeper Martin who later revealed he’d had a last gasp change of mind as to which way he was going to dive.

Martin, though, went from hero to zero as he dropped a high ball under pressure from Brian Graham. Martin Boyle showing great presence of mind as he dived to head it goalwards, his effort carrying just enough legs to take it over the line.

A late block from close range by Martin from Graham denied Hibs a winner and the chance to go nine clear, leaving Lennon to reflect: “We missed chances, missed the penalty and that summed up our day.

“It’s not the end of the world and we thoroughly deserved to win the game but we have to stop being sloppy.

“We play Falkirk and Morton in the next two games and we could have made life a lot easier for ourselves by winning.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397235.1489945564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397235.1489945564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Boyle falls into the net after scoring Hibs' second equaliser to make it 2-2","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle falls into the net after scoring Hibs' second equaliser to make it 2-2","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397235.1489945564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibernian-2-2-dumbarton-boyle-s-late-goal-saves-hibs-from-shock-defeat-at-easter-road-1-4396774","id":"1.4396774","articleHeadline": "Hibernian 2-2 Dumbarton: Boyle's late goal saves Hibs from shock defeat at Easter Road","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489857263000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs twice came from behind to salvage a point and widen the gap at the top of the Championship table to seven points but nevertheless would have been disappointed at having to settle for a point against Dumbarton.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396773.1489856169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs Andrew Shinnie battles his way past Dumbarton's Calum Gallagher (left) and David Smith"} ,"articleBody": "

The visitors had taken a shock lead when Marvin Bartley needlessly fouled Ross McCrorie inches inside the penalty area, former Hearts striker Christian Nade stepping up to score from the spot.

An own goal from Daniel Harvie put Hibs level but Robert Thomson fired Dumbarton ahead only for Hibs striker James Keatings to see his penalty saved before Martin Boyle’s diving header from the edge of the box crept over the line to earn the Capital club a point.

Dumbarton, unsurprisingly, adopted the favourite tactic of sides visiting Easter Road, getting everyone behind the ball to frustrate Neil Lennon’s players, a ploy which worked well for the opening half-hour as Hibs toiled to engineer an opening.

The closest they came was when Keatings whipped in a low cross which was missed by both McGinn and Grant Holt before the striker supplied another inviting cross, this time headed back across by Efe Ambrose for Holt who couldn’t find enough loft to take the ball over the head of Dumbarton goalkeeper Alan Martin.

Hibs, without the suspended Jason Cummings and Fraser Fyvie, continued to keep Dumbarton pinned in, Andrew Shinnie cutting in from the left to fire in a shot which was always rising over Martin’s bar.

Dumbarton were obviously hoping to catch Hibs on the break as they committed players forward but other than a second minute chance for Andy Stirling which he blasted well wide of target, little had been seen of them as an attacking force as borne out by the fact the Edinburgh side had enjoyed 69 per cent of possession in the first half.

But Dumbarton made a mockery of that decision by taking the lead in the 38th minute, Bartley challenged McCrorie from behind on the left edge of Hibs penalty area and referee Gavin Duncan had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, Nade stepping up to beat goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and give the visitors a shock lead.

The goal was exactly what Dumbarton wanted, something to hold onto with Hibs having struggled all season to overcome opponents determined to ‘park the bus’ although Lennon’s players needed to show greater urgency than they had in the opening 45 minutes.

Hibs were badly needing a goal to get themselves back into it and it almost came three minutes after the restart, Holt nodding down Ambrose’s long ball forward for Keatings to take it first time, prompting a smart save from Martin who then just managed to push a deflected shot from Shinnie round the post.

But the home side did get the leveller in the 57th minute, Lewis Stevenson playing a great ball down the line to find McGinn’s run, the midfielder delivering a first time cross into the middle where Harvie turned it into his own net.

Hibs, however, were level for only four minutes, Nade’s pass finding Thomson in space to drill a long range shot into the bottom right hand corner of Marciano’s net.

The Capital club had a chance to haul themselves level for a second time when former Hearts defender Darren Barr clearly held Holt, prompting another penalty award from referee Duncan but Martin guessed right, throwing himself full length to his left to push Keatings’ spot kick aside.

Nade was lucky not to be shown the red card for taking a swing at Jordon Forster as the Hibs substitute tried to retrieve the ball from him for throw in, referee Duncan cautioning both players, Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken immediately spotting the danger by replacing Nade with Garry Fleming.

Hibs did find a second equaliser, Dumbarton goalkeeper Martin dropping the ball at the edge of his area, the alert Boyle diving to head it and then watch it crawl over the line as Brian Graham raced in to blast it into the net.

Hibs: Marciano, Gray (Forster 68), McGregor, Ambrose, Stevenson, Bartley (McGeouch 62), Boyle, McGinn, Shinnie (Graham 77), Keatings, Holt.

Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Crane, S Martin, F Murray.

Dumbarton: A Martin, Smith, Buchanan, Barr, Harvie, Stirling, Carswell, McCrorie, Thomson, C Gallagher (Vaughan 66), Nade (Fleming 77).

Substitutes not used: Ewings, Lang, Prior.

Referee: Gavin Duncan

" ,"byline": {"email": "david.hardie@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "David Hardie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4396773.1489856169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396773.1489856169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs Andrew Shinnie battles his way past Dumbarton's Calum Gallagher (left) and David Smith","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs Andrew Shinnie battles his way past Dumbarton's Calum Gallagher (left) and David Smith","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4396773.1489856169!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibee-history-clinical-hibs-secure-first-trophy-in-16-years-1-4393957","id":"1.4393957","articleHeadline": "Hibee History: Clinical Hibs secure first trophy in 16 years","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489818600000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs produced a dazzling display of power, speed and clinical finishing to lift the CIS Insurance Cup with victory over Kilmarnock at Hampden.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393956.1489677671!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Stevenson with the trophy at Easter Road"} ,"articleBody": "

Rob Jones headed home from a corner after 28 minutes, but it was after the break before Hibs ran riot.

Abdessalam Benjelloun curled home the second and Steven Fletcher fired in the third, both from the edge of the box.

Gordon Greer headed a reply, but late strikes from Benjelloun and Fletcher ensured there would be no fightback. Hibs’ first trophy in 16 years justified manager John Collins’ decision to recall winger Ivan Sproule and prefer 19-year-old Lewis Stevenson, who was named man of the match, to Michael Stewart in midfield.

It was Andrew McNeil, who was first to be tested as Killie started the brighter while sleet and snow enveloped Hampden Park. The young goalkeeper turned Steven Naismith’s close-range head flick over the crossbar.

And it was Alan Combe’s turn to impress when parrying wide Stevenson’s drilled effort from 12 yards.

Steven Naismith then did well to latch on to a long ball but just failed to steer his shot from 18 yards into the top corner.

However, Hibs took the lead as Jones freed himself from marker Colin Nish and powered a header past the helpless Combe from David Murphy’s corner.

Combe dived full length to turn wide a Benjelloun header. And McNeil did well to recover when Frazer Wright fired a low drive through a crowd of players.

But Hibs ended the half the better side, with Steven Fletcher flashing a drive wide and then having another effort cleared by a deflection off team-mate Sproule.

The second-half started in bizarre fashion, with Hibs starting with nine men after Jones and Murphy were late emerging from the tunnel.

However, that failed to shift the momentum of the match.

Killie lost Peter Leven to injury and, following the introduction of Gary Wales, they suffered another blow when Hibs extended their lead after 59 minutes.

Benjelloun teased Gordon Greer before curling the ball into the far corner from 18 yards.

And, with Killie in disarray, Fletcher combined with Scott Brown and Benjelloun to finish the move he himself started by driving the third goal low into the far corner from 20 yards.

Greer headed home from close range after a cross from substitute Gary Locke caused problems in the Hibs box after 77 minutes.

But Benjelloun again made space for himself before firing under Combe.

And Fletcher pounced to score after Combe mis-kicked following a cruel bobble that summed up a disastrous day for Killie.

Hibs: McNeil, Whittaker, Murphy, Hogg, Jones, Stevenson, Beuzelin, Brown, Sproule, Benjelloun, Fletcher.

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