{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hibs","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-john-mcginn-wins-ladbrokes-championship-player-of-year-award-1-4455801","id":"1.4455801","articleHeadline": "Hibs’ John McGinn wins Ladbrokes Championship player of year award","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495634832000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs midfielder John McGinn has won the Ladbrokes Championship Player of the Year award.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455870.1495636253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn shows off his award. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 22-year-old Scotland internationalist helped the Easter Road club win promotion to the Premiership by winning the league title.

McGinn, who is the national squad to face England next month in a World Cup qualifier, played 29 times in the league this season and was a driving force in Hibs’ midfield.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455870.1495636253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455870.1495636253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGinn shows off his award. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn shows off his award. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455870.1495636253!/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-to-play-berwick-rangers-in-pre-season-friendly-1-4455545","id":"1.4455545","articleHeadline": "Hibs to play Berwick Rangers in pre-season friendly","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495627136000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs have announced their first pre-season friendly of the 2017/18 campaign.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455544.1495627133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs are regular visitors to Shielfield Park. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Neil Lennon’s men will travel to Shielfield Park on Tuesday, July 11 to take on League 2 side Berwick Rangers.

The match will kick off at 7.45pm.

It will be the fourth pre-season in a row that Hibs will take on the Borders outfit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455544.1495627133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455544.1495627133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs are regular visitors to Shielfield Park. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs are regular visitors to Shielfield Park. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455544.1495627133!/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-to-remain-at-east-mains-for-pre-season-training-1-4455062","id":"1.4455062","articleHeadline": "Hibs to remain at East Mains for pre-season training","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495603846000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs’ preparations for their Premiership return will take place predominantly at their East Mains training base, with no plans to head elsewhere for a pre-season training camp.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455061.1495569727!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs will prepare for the new Ladbrokes Premiership season at their East Mains base"} ,"articleBody": "

The players are due to return to work four weeks tomorrow – Thursday, June 22. As they did last summer, after Neil Lennon replaced Alan Stubbs in early June, Hibs intend to remain at home to limber up for the new season. The squad will have three-and-a-half weeks between checking in for pre-season and their first competitive match. They are set to begin their Betfred Cup campaign on the weekend of July 15 and will play four group games in that tournament in the space of a fortnight. The last match date for Betfred Cup group games is the weekend of July 29 – one week before the Premiership campaign kicks off. Hibs are currently working to finalise a schedule of pre-season friendlies to ensure they are in the best possible shape.

The Easter Road club have staged pre-season training camps on foreign soil in three of the last five summers – twice in Spain (2013 and 2015) and once in Belgium (2012) – while they also travelled to Spain in preparation for the play-offs in 2015 and for the 2016 League Cup final against Ross County. However, they have decided to carry out the bulk of their work at East Mains this summer.

By the time they return in a month’s time, Lennon’s squad will have had a six-and-a-half-week break to recharge their batteries, although the training centre remains open throughout the close season to allow the players to keep themselves ticking over.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455061.1495569727!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455061.1495569727!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs will prepare for the new Ladbrokes Premiership season at their East Mains base","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs will prepare for the new Ladbrokes Premiership season at their East Mains base","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455061.1495569727!/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/analysis-how-are-hibs-shaping-up-ahead-of-2017-18-campaign-1-4454957","id":"1.4454957","articleHeadline": "Analysis: How are Hibs shaping up ahead of 2017/18 campaign?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495603824000 ,"articleLead": "

At this time a year ago, Hibs were about to be forced into a managerial change. At this point two years ago, they had only found out a day earlier which division they would be playing in after losing to Rangers in the play-offs. Three years ago just now, they were a day shy of being relegated and thrown into all manner of chaos.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454956.1495564358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The nucleus of the squad that claimed the Championship title remains at Hibs. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

In short, the Easter Road club have, in recent times, generally been unable to properly begin planning for a new campaign until the onset of June. Sealing promotion in mid-April has greatly altered that scenario for the better this time round as they prepare for the start of their Premiership campaign in just over two months’ time.

The early confirmation of which division they will be operating in has allowed Neil Lennon and his staff to get a head-start in terms of shaping the squad for the new season. With a full four weeks remaining until the players return to work on Thursday June 22, Hibs have already made notable headway in terms of gearing up for the upcoming campaign. While there will always linger a degree of uncertainty until the day the transfer window closes in more than three months’ time, Hibs’ business thus far, allied to their stated intentions, suggests the team which kicks off the new season will have a relatively familiar look to it.

Here is how things are shaping up at Easter Road.

Who is already tied up?

There was mild concern among supporters that, with the majority of the squad running out of contract this summer, a group of players who had helped restore the club’s pride by winning the Scottish Cup and the Championship title over the past year might be broken up. As the end of the season approached, Hibs had only eight players contracted beyond this summer, and two of those were Danny Handling and Sam Stanton, who haven’t kicked a competitive first-team ball for the club for two years and 18 months, respectively. Jordon Forster, Paul Hanlon, Dylan McGeouch, John McGinn, Brian Graham and Jason Cummings were the only established first-team players tied down. Since the end of the season two-and-a-half weeks ago, however, a raft of out-of-contract mainstays have extended their contracts. Captain David Gray, long-serving double cup winner Lewis Stevenson, player of the year Darren McGregor, reliable back-up goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw and midfield enforcer Marvin Bartley all signed new deals earlier this month, while Lennon confirmed last week that attacker Martin Boyle and defender Liam Fontaine will follow suit. This means Hibs still have 13 players who were prominent in their Championship success, including eight of the XI who started the Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers a year ago.

Who has left?

Of those among the confirmed departures, strikers James Keatings and Grant Holt were the most notable. Both players were popular with supporters and played a significant part in winning promotion. Keatings offered versatility across the front area of the pitch and was an able deputy for Cummings, while Holt brought a physical presence to attack and acted as an effective foil for the top scorer. Brian McLean and Chris Humphrey also left upon the expiry of their short-term deals, while long-serving academy graduate Alex Harris didn’t have his contract renewed. Jamie Insall, an experimental signing by Alan Stubbs two years ago, has gone without ever featuring in the first team. Andrew Shinnie has returned to parent club Birmingham City after his loan deal expired, although the midfielder enjoyed his time in Edinburgh and, if not part of new Blues manager Harry Redknapp’s plans for next season, he would be open to a return to Hibs if the opportunity arose.

Who do they hope to retain?

Fraser Fyvie, who has been with Hibs for the past two and a half years, is out of contract and free to speak to other clubs if he wishes although the smart money remains on him accepting the deal on offer to remain at Easter Road. Ofir Marciano’s season-long loan deal from Ashdod has expired and Lennon has made no secret of the fact he is eager to get the goalkeeper back to Edinburgh for next season. Marciano has a year left on his deal in Israel, but is desperate to continue his career at Hibs, who are optimistic a deal can be struck with his current club. Efe Ambrose, who spent the last couple of months of the season at Easter Road on loan from Hibs, is due to become a free agent after leaving Celtic and Lennon said last week that a deal to bring him back to Edinburgh was “almost over the line”.

Who could leave?

As revealed in Monday’s Evening News, Stanton, who has been out of favour for the past three years, will depart, either permanently or on loan. Handling is in a similar boat. The future of prized assets Cummings and McGinn are likely to be the subject of speculation until the day the transfer window closes. Hibs have no desire to cash in on either player, but, as Lennon himself stated last month, every player has their price. If either of these two key men were to move on, it would be on Hibs’ terms, meaning they would be compensated by a hefty seven-figure transfer fee which could then be reinvested in the team. As things stand, both are viewed as integral members of a team with lofty aspirations for their return to the Premiership.

How will they strengthen?

St Johnstone talisman Danny Swanson has already been recruited to add creativity and goal threat to the team. If Marciano and Ambrose are recruited, that would leave both the goalkeeping and defensive departments in robust shape. Steven Whittaker is on Hibs’ radar after becoming a free agent and would offer extra competition in the full-back areas, although the former Norwich City and Scotland player, who has several suitors, is content to take time to decide his next move. Midfield activity will depend on whether Fyvie and McGinn stay on, although Lennon stated last week that he is keen to add a goal-scoring midfielder, something Hibs have been missing in recent seasons. Kris Commons, who enjoyed his short period on loan at Easter Road last season, is now a free agent after leaving Celtic and would appear to fit the bill. Lennon is also keen to add some width to the team. With Harris and Humphrey having departed, there are currently no natural wingers at the club. In addition, with Cummings, Graham and Boyle the only senior strikers on the books, at least one and probably two new players will be required to fill the voids left by Keatings and Holt. Teenager Oli Shaw will feature more prominently in the squad after a sensational season in the development league, but, for all that he is keen to promote young talent where possible, Lennon will be keen to add a couple of established strikers to the mix. Former Hibs player Anthony Stokes, who was in Leith last weekend a year on from his double in the Scottish Cup final, is one of those he is eager to add, although a move hinges on whether Blackburn Rovers opt to cut their losses on a player whose first year at Ewood Park has been a write-off. Simon Murray is set to become a free agent after Dundee United’s Premiership play-off final against Hamilton Accies concludes on Sunday, and Lennon is a long-time admirer. Hibs tried to sign the former Arbroath attacker last summer, and the manager made no secret of how much he rates the energetic redhead when waxing lyrical about him as he summarised United’s play-off matches against Falkirk for BT Sport last week. There is a decent chance he will be among a batch of new recruits added to an established and dependable core of mainstays.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454956.1495564358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454956.1495564358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The nucleus of the squad that claimed the Championship title remains at Hibs. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The nucleus of the squad that claimed the Championship title remains at Hibs. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454956.1495564358!/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/grant-holt-i-loved-my-time-at-hibs-and-i-won-t-be-winding-down-1-4453803","id":"1.4453803","articleHeadline": "Grant Holt: I loved my time at Hibs and I won’t be winding down","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495517436000 ,"articleLead": "

Grant Holt is in no mood for winding down following a reinvigorating season with Hibs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453802.1495472587!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Holt celebrates scoring against Hearts in one of his favourite moments in a Hibs shirt. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 36-year-old striker departed the club at the end of their Championship-winning campaign after his contract wasn’t renewed. Having endured a couple of injury-disrupted campaigns prior to arriving at Easter Road last summer, the iconic former Norwich City player will take on his next challenge buoyed by the knowledge he can still handle the rigours of a long season after starting 29 of Hibs’ 46 competitive games and coming off the bench in another ten.

The fact he was delivering his best form for Neil Lennon’s side at the business end, and particularly in the big matches, adds to his belief that he still has plenty to offer in his late 30s.

“One of the main reasons I came to Hibs was because I wanted to play regular football again,” Holt said. “When Neil called me, he said ‘I know what you can do, I want you to come and enjoy your football again and give us some of your experience to get us out of the division’.

“It took me a while to adjust but I think after Christmas, everyone started to see the real Grant Holt.

I think it was around December that I started feeling like I was getting back to the level I was capable of in terms of fitness and sharpness. You can never teach yourself to do what you do in football matches – it all comes from playing regularly. It probably took me a bit longer to realise exactly what my job was in the team and learn how to play in the division, but after the turn of the year, I think people started to get what my game was all about and what I did for the team.

“I was coming on to a scoring run towards the end of the season but the main thing for me was that I felt I was a lot better after the turn of the year. I think most people could see that I was bringing more to the team than just goals. I was there to get the team up the pitch, rough people up a bit and get under people’s skin.”

As a man who has scored close to 200 career goals, Holt was disappointed that only seven of them came in a green-and-white jersey. The fact he netted three times in his last four games for the club, however, suggested he was coming to the boil nicely ahead of Hibs’ return to the Premiership next season. Although he would have been open to extending his stay at Easter Road in ideal circumstances, Holt, who regularly travelled back to his family home in Norwich over the past season, is philosophical about his time in Edinburgh ending after just ten months.

“I think I could have gone up to the Premiership and made an impact,” he said. “I played 39 games so I think that shows how fit I am, and I was getting better and better as the season went on. But I’m not stupid – I’m 36 now and the club have got to look at other things. I spoke to the club and the manager a while back. I said what I wanted and they said what they wanted and it just didn’t really work out. We just had different ideas, and I had a feeling we wouldn’t be able to make it happen.

“It’s been a tough old year travelling up and down, so on reflection it was possibly the right decision for both parties. I had the chance to sign for two years last year but I chose to sign just for one year because I didn’t know how I’d get on with the travel and how my body would be. I had a good season but I knew we’d have to have a discussion at the end of it. I’m different to the other boys because I’m 36. I spoke to the club and it just didn’t work out in the end. At the end of the day, I’ve left the club on good terms, which is what I wanted to do. I could ring anybody at the club and speak to them about anything. You want to leave it on a good note, and that’s what happened.”

“I’ve got the utmost respect for the manager and the staff at Hibs and I’m really grateful to the fans for the send-off I got at the end of the season. I think everyone probably knew from my demeanour that I thought that would be my last game [against St Mirren]. I knew before the end of the season that it didn’t look like an offer was coming, so I said my goodbyes to everyone. I still speak to the boys now – I keep getting snapchats off them. We had a great group of boys and at some point in the new season I’ll be back up to watch them.”

Holt has won promotions in England and played in the illustrious top flight down south, but he insists that winning the Scottish Championship gave him as much satisfaction as any of his career accomplishments.

“Of course it does. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the game or what you’ve won before, you’re in the game to win and achieve things,” he said. “To get the satisfaction of winning any title, it’s hard work. It doesn’t matter what level it is. People will look and say it was only the Scottish Championship, but anyone who’s played in or watched that league will know it’s a tough league to get out of.

“Teams come to Easter Road and try and frustrate. At times it was tough, but we just had to find a way to break them down. Sometimes we managed it, other times we didn’t but the main thing is that we won the league at a canter.

“I’m delighted at what we achieved in my season at Hibs because the aim was to win the league and we did that. We wanted the Scottish Cup as well but unfortunately we couldn’t get to the final.”

Holt did as much as anyone to try and get Hibs back to the final with some barnstorming performances against Hearts and Aberdeen.

“I think you’ve got to look at the Hearts and Aberdeen games,” when asked for his personal highlights from his stint in Scotland. “I really enjoyed testing myself against the Premiership teams, and I felt we did ourselves justice against both teams. We lost to Aberdeen in the semi, but they’re a really good team and we gave them a good game. I still think we should have beaten Hearts at their ground and then we spanked them [3-1] at Easter Road. It should have been more than it was. That game will live long in my memory. There’s nothing better than winning a night match against your local rivals and having 20,000 people singing Sunshine on Leith after it.

“When I first went up, I knew quite a bit about the club but I didn’t realise how big it was and how big it could become. I was only there one year but it will live long in the memory. I loved it.”

Holt has been turning his attention towards coaching of late, and he was grateful for the chance to assist Grant Murray with the Hibs development team for a spell last season. His priority for just now, however, is to continue playing. He will take time to assess his options over the coming months. “I don’t know what’s next,” he said. “I’ll just wait and see. I’ve done a lot of travelling over the past year. I’ve had a great year but it always takes a toll on your body.

“I’m at home now, so I’ll spend a few weeks with the family, switch off from football and see what happens over the next four or five weeks. I want to keep playing as long as I can. A few clubs have been in touch with my agent but at this moment in time I just want a few weeks off to spend time with my kids and go on a couple of family holidays. I’ll wait and see what offers are there in a few weeks’ time, pretty similar to what I did last year. It didn’t work out too bad for me last year, did it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453802.1495472587!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453802.1495472587!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grant Holt celebrates scoring against Hearts in one of his favourite moments in a Hibs shirt. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Holt celebrates scoring against Hearts in one of his favourite moments in a Hibs shirt. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453802.1495472587!/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-jason-cummings-could-succeed-in-england-says-grant-holt-1-4453805","id":"1.4453805","articleHeadline": "Hibs’ Jason Cummings could succeed in England, says Grant Holt","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495517413000 ,"articleLead": "

Grant Holt is adamant Hibs goal machine Jason Cummings possesses the required dedication to make the most of his potential and enjoy a fruitful career in England if he wishes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453804.1495472793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cumminngs, left, scored 23 goals last term and Grant Holt, right, feels he was able to teach the youngster a few tricks of the trade"} ,"articleBody": "

The 21-year-old is the hottest young striker in Scotland with 71 goals to his name already for the Easter Road club. Although contracted to Hibs for another three years, Cummings has made no secret of his desire to test himself at a higher level in the future.

Holt, who shone in the English Premier League with Norwich City in his peak years, was Cummings’ main strike partner as he bagged 23 goals for Hibs on their way to the Championship title over the past season, and the 36-year-old believes that the Edinburgh boy is a talent of genuine substance who will flourish as long as he retains his focus.

“Jason’s got the tools to go down south,” Holt, who left Hibs a fortnight ago, told the Evening News. “He’s just got to keep learning and take the right advice from the right people around him. Everyone sees Jason as a joker, and he is. But what people don’t see is the other side of him – the guy who’s on the training pitch working hard. He spends a lot of time on his finishing and practising his free-kicks, and he’s had his rewards for that over the last year. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing and listens to the right people, Jason will have a good career.”

Holt explained that, in order to maintain an upward trajectory, Cummings must refine his all-round game, in the same way that Scotland striker Chris Martin and his England counterpart Harry Kane did in the early stages of their careers before going on to be prolific goal-scorers in the top two divisions down south.

“When you’re 21, you’re just potential,” said Holt. “You’ve got to learn the game first. Look at Harry Kane down the road – he came to Norwich when I was there and also went to Leicester on loan and it wasn’t really happening for him, but look at what he’s doing now. It’s all about learning quickly off different players and in different situations.

“I played with Chris Martin at Norwich when he was young and at that stage he didn’t want to be a target man. He wanted to be a No.10 but he got forced to be a No.9 and learned to play the position, and look at the career he’s had.

“You have to learn quickly. I’m 36 and it took me four or five months to learn how to play in the Scottish Championship. If he goes down south, he’ll have to learn how to play in a different league. He’ll have to work on holding the ball up. He’s a strong boy and he’ll enhance all the parts of his game he needs to and he’ll make his strong parts even better. There are still things in his game that he needs to learn, but the one thing Jason’s got is that he’s a goal-scorer, and everybody wants one of those.”

Cummings last month pinpointed Holt as playing a key role in his success over the past season. The big Cumbrian enjoyed seeing his young sidekick take his game to new heights as the campaign progressed. “There were times Jason dug me out a hole when I couldn’t hit a barn door, but equally I feel I probably helped him as much as anyone in the team,” said Holt. “I could talk him through his game and help him with the bits he didn’t want to do. I think he’ll have learned a lot from playing beside me.

“Anyone watching Jason this year compared to last year will have seen his improvement. I felt he was a different player after Christmas compared to the start of the season. He did a lot more. Look at his performance in the home game against Hearts – if he can replicate that week in, week out, he can go wherever he wants.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453804.1495472793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453804.1495472793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cumminngs, left, scored 23 goals last term and Grant Holt, right, feels he was able to teach the youngster a few tricks of the trade","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cumminngs, left, scored 23 goals last term and Grant Holt, right, feels he was able to teach the youngster a few tricks of the trade","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453804.1495472793!/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/several-clubs-keep-tabs-on-sam-stanton-s-hibs-situation-1-4452677","id":"1.4452677","articleHeadline": "Several clubs keep tabs on Sam Stanton’s Hibs situation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495431019000 ,"articleLead": "

Several clubs are monitoring Sam Stanton’s situation as the midfielder prepares to leave Hibs this summer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452674.1495437318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sam Stanton, right, challenges Tom Taiwo"} ,"articleBody": "

The 23-year-old is under contract for another year, but, after falling out of favour over the past three seasons, he won’t feature in Neil Lennon’s plans for the Easter Road club’s return to the Premiership next term.

Stanton hasn’t played a first-team game for Hibs since October 2015 and has been out on loan for most of the intervening period.

After spending the second half of the 2015/16 campaign with Livingston and having just completed a fruitful season-long loan at Dumbarton in which he was one of their key players as they secured Championship survival, Stanton, who is eager to play regularly, will again leave Hibs in the coming months, either on a permanent or loan basis.

With Hibs chasing promotion from the Championship in recent seasons, Stanton has been unable to join rival clubs at the top end of the second tier. However, after his parent club’s title success, that avenue is now open to him, and several Championship clubs, allied to a couple in the bottom half of the Premiership, are watching with interest to see how his situation pans out over the coming weeks.

Stanton has scored seven goals in 70 appearances for Hibs but, since the club were relegated three years ago, the academy graduate has never been afforded the level of game time required to rediscover the promising form he showed after breaking into the first team under Terry Butcher in the second half of the ill-fated 2013/14 campaign.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452674.1495437318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452674.1495437318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sam Stanton, right, challenges Tom Taiwo","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sam Stanton, right, challenges Tom Taiwo","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452674.1495437318!/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-ladies-retain-the-league-cup-in-style-1-4452858","id":"1.4452858","articleHeadline": "Hibs Ladies retain the League Cup in style","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495391376000 ,"articleLead": "

May 21 will forever be etched in Hibs history.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452857.1495396379!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs team captian Joelle Murray lifts the trophy as her team-mates celebrate League Cup success at Broadwood Stadium"} ,"articleBody": "

This time it was the turn of Hibs Ladies to mark that special day as they successfully defended the SWPL League Cup with a 4-1 victory over Celtic at Broadwood.

Given there are several supporters of the club within manager Chris Roberts’ dressing room, yesterday’s triumph made cause for a double celebration as the Capital side marked a year’s anniversary from the 3-2 win over Rangers that ended their 114-year Scottish Cup hoodoo.

Goals from Kirsty Smith, Lucy Graham, Rachel McLauchlan and Rachael Small saw Hibs Ladies lift the trophy they won last June – all the motivation they needed according to stand-in captain Small.

“From our own perspective the talk in the changing room beforehand was ‘here we go, two in a row’,” the 25-year-old quipped. “Obviously there was a huge amount on social media about the famous day last May and we’re just delighted to add to that. If it helps the club then we’re privileged to do so.”

Asked about her responsibility as captain, she added: “It’s an honour. I’ve not been with the team long so to get it has been a bit of a shock. But it’s just an armband at the end of the day, everyone’s a captain out there as we’ve got quite a few big characters in the squad and everybody takes responsibility. To get one trophy in the bag already, it really gives us confidence going forward.”

As expected, former Aberdeen player Small retained the captaincy with Joelle Murray again listed amongst the substitutes as Roberts opted for the same starting 11 that had been so impressive in the 2-1 defeat of Celtic on league business last Tuesday.

The holders went ahead as early as the fifth minute as Siobhan Hunter played a sweeping pass out to the left where Smith collected. The Scotland internationalist had time to cut inside her opponent before unleashing a thunderous drive that flew past Megan Cunningham from 20 yards.

However, the Glasgow side were level inside a minute as some slack play from full-back Cailin Michie, who would later go on to be named player of the match, allowed Ruesha Littlejohn a clear view of Jenna Fife’s goal and she made no mistake in turning the ball beyond the Hibs No.1 – the first goal the Hibees had conceded in this season’s competition.

It was Celtic’s turn for a lapse in concentration that gave Katey Turner space inside the box but Cunningham got that all-important touch to turn the ball around the far post.

Graham restored Hibs’ lead, though, with ten minutes remaining of the first half, the midfielder producing a precise finish into the corner following McLauchlan’s pass.

But Hibs again looked vulnerable having just taken the lead for a second time, Michie forced to block Natalie Ross’ goalbound effort.

Hibs were gifted a two-goal advantage just two minutes after the restart, American Darcy McFarlane played the ball straight into the path of Turner, whose well-weighted cross was met by McLauchlan on the volley.

Celtic lacked the same belief they displayed in the first 45 and were unable to apply any real pressure on the Hibs backline.

And, the Hibees wrapped the game up 12 minutes from time when Abi Harrison’s first-time effort was blocked by Kelly Clark and Small was the fortunate recipient as she guided the ball home via Cunningham to continue her recent scoring spree.

Substitiute Amy Gallacher almost added a fifth six minutes from time when the teenager met Harrison’s cross from the left but she failed to keep her effort under the crossbar.

Head coach Roberts spoke of enormous pride at his side clinching their first piece of silverware of the season.

“It’s been such a tough four weeks for us with the run of fixtures and the injuries we have had so I’m so proud of the girls,” he said. “I think it’s testament to them with how much desire they have to win trophies. Our main priority is the league but now we’ve won the first one we want to go on and win more. Silverware needs to be a regular thing for this team.”

Celtic: Cunningham, Ross, Napier, Crilly (Howat 75), Montgomery, Whyte, Mulvey (Ewens 70), Clark, Poucel (Richards 64), Littljohn, McFarlane (Fulton 75). Subs: Dalglish, Gibson, Rafferty.

Hibs Ladies: Fife, Hunter, Michie (Leishman 90), Smith, McLauchlan, Graham, Turner (Tweedie 64), Cornet (Gallacher 77), Harrison (Murray 89), Small, Brownlie. Subs: Robertson, Reid.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL McGLADEat Broadwood"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452857.1495396379!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452857.1495396379!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs team captian Joelle Murray lifts the trophy as her team-mates celebrate League Cup success at Broadwood Stadium","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs team captian Joelle Murray lifts the trophy as her team-mates celebrate League Cup success at Broadwood Stadium","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452857.1495396379!/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/quiz-how-well-do-you-know-hibs-scottish-cup-triumph-1-4452469","id":"1.4452469","articleHeadline": "QUIZ: How well do you know Hibs’ Scottish Cup triumph","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495367469000 ,"articleLead": "

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Hibs’ Scottish Cup triumph over Rangers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452468.1495367467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs' triumphant players celebrate winning the Scottish Cup last year. Pic: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

How well do you recall the cup run and the game itself? Have a go at our quiz to test your knowledge on that famous day at Hampden.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452468.1495367467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452468.1495367467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs' triumphant players celebrate winning the Scottish Cup last year. Pic: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs' triumphant players celebrate winning the Scottish Cup last year. Pic: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452468.1495367467!/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/alan-stubbs-i-ll-be-toasting-hibs-historic-cup-victory-1-4451382","id":"1.4451382","articleHeadline": "Alan Stubbs: I’ll be toasting Hibs’ historic cup victory","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495258259000 ,"articleLead": "

Alan Stubbs will be golfing with a few mates in Marbella tomorrow, but he admits he’ll find it hard to stop his mind drifting towards those monumental events of a year ago.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451381.1495211569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alan Stubbs followed the players, below, up the steps of Hampden to lift the famous trophy"} ,"articleBody": "

When he finishes his round he will be raising a glass to that day at Hampden when Hibs finally put 114 years of pain behind them by lifting the Scottish Cup.

And he is sure there will be thousands of fans of the club doing exactly the same thing, recalling skipper David Gray’s stunning last-minute winner and the epic scenes as the streets of Edinburgh turned green and white the following day.

He reckons it is a story line which even ardent Hibs fan Irvine Welsh would have struggled to have visioned although, he believes, it’s one the Trainspotting author might well wish he had written himself.

“It’s hard to believe it’s just a year ago,” confessed Stubbs who shocked everyone by quitting Hibs for an ill-fated spell as manager of Rotherham United.

“It’s always a fantastic feeling when you can look back at something like that you have achieved.

“There’s a lot of people who are in the same profession who have not got as fond memories to look back on so I look upon myself as being quite privileged to be honest.”

Hibs’ love-hate relationship with the cup was, of course, one of the first subjects Stubbs was made aware of – as was the case with each and every one of his predecessors – when he arrived at a club reeling from the shock of relegation and suffering from deep divisions between angry supporters and those at the helm.

He recalled: “Yes, you quickly find out about it. People within the club told me, but I thought some people liked the thought of mentioning it all the time at press conferences.

“So I must admit to be able to look back with such fondness on such a brilliant day gives a lot of satisfaction, not just for myself but everyone involved. I was just so happy and privileged we were able to provide a day for people to look back on for the rest of their lives.”

Promotion, of course, had been the top priority, Hibs falling just short as they were beaten in the play-offs by Falkirk but, Stubbs believes, any snap survey among the fan base would probably have uncovered a 50/50 split between that and winning the cup.

Stubbs, however, insists that having had the disappointment of losing the League Cup final to Ross County a few months earlier, failing to gain promotion merely strengthened his belief in his players.

He said: “Had the final been in the first year it might have been a different outcome but we had come such a long way in such a short space of time in the second year. I felt we had come through quite a lot of adversity.

“We were probably the better team in the League Cup final but lost because of a couple of mistakes. In the play-offs I don’t think anyone could argue we were the better team over the two legs but came out on the wrong end of it.”

Having lost to Falkirk despite being 2-1 ahead in the second leg of the play-off and winning 4-3 on aggregate, the Scottish Cup final against a Rangers side which had romped away with the Championship title, coming just days later, represented not only the thought of a historic day at Hampden but some form of redemption.

Stubbs said: “What it all kept doing was building character and testing their mental strength. A lot was said about them: were they up to it; were they weak characters; was it going to be another case of having ‘Hibsed’ it?

“But I knew what I had, I worked with them on a daily basis, I think what happened brought them together even more. The will to succeed and put it right grew even stronger.”

If events on the day were a story within itself, Anthony Stokes putting Hibs ahead only for Kenny Miller and Andy Halliday to edge Rangers in front before Stokes, again, and Gray clinched victory, so too was the journey to Hampden itself.

Capital rivals Hearts were beaten as were the then cup holders Inverness Caley, the two Premiership clubs adding to the scalps of Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone taken in the League Cup run, leaving only United between Hibs and the final.

Almost as an omen as to what was to happen on the big day itself, that semi-final had a fairytale of its own with goalkeeper Conrad Logan, clearly out of shape, drafted in for his first game in 18 months after Mark Oxley was suspended, the Irishman pulling off a string of impressive saves and then surpassing them by saving two United penalties in the shoot-out which followed a no-scoring draw.

Add in Jason Cummings’ ‘Panenka’ spot-kick in the first half which sailed over the crossbar before the youngster redeemed himself with the winning penalty and there’s little wonder many felt Hibs name was already on the cup.

But it was the scenes in the Capital the following day as Hibs paraded the cup which Stubbs admitted will live with him forever while the hairs on the back of his neck rise every time he hears the strains of “Sunshine on Leith”.

He said: “I have experienced a few things but I can probably say I couldn’t possibly witness something so amazing again. When I was at Celtic we couldn’t have an open-top for obvious reasons. It was just incredible. To see grown men on the streets openly crying, young kids who can say they were there. You couldn’t put it into words.”

Stubbs was back in Edinburgh as Hibs launched the DVD to mark the occasion and has since, he admitted, watched “certain parts” again but, he revealed, it’s Sunshine on Leith which gets him every time.

“From the day I joined the club until the day I die that song will still give me pins and needles, make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up,” he said. “It’s possibly one of the best football songs there is. I had friends come up to watch Hibs against Hearts, and in the cup final, and that was all they were talking about, asking ‘Sunshine on Leith,’ how good is that? They were blown away by it.

“I’m sure there will be loads of Hibs fans having a drink tomorrow and recalling everything that happened.

“I’ll be in Marbella golfing, but I’ll be having one as well and reflecting on that day myself.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451381.1495211569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451381.1495211569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alan Stubbs followed the players, below, up the steps of Hampden to lift the famous trophy","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alan Stubbs followed the players, below, up the steps of Hampden to lift the famous trophy","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451381.1495211569!/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-have-changed-for-the-better-says-stubbs-1-4451378","id":"1.4451378","articleHeadline": "Hibs have changed for the better says Stubbs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495258242000 ,"articleLead": "

Alan Stubbs believes Hibs are a vastly different club as they prepare for a return to the Premiership than the one which was relegated three years ago.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451377.1495223121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alan Stubbs"} ,"articleBody": "

Stubbs arrived in the wake of that shock demotion which prompted the sacking of Terry Butcher to find the Easter Road club in disarray and with a threadbare squad with which to begin life in the Championship.

And although, ultimately, he was unable to win promotion in either of his two seasons as manager, Stubbs did deliver that historic Scottish Cup win, ending 114 years of misery.

Speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of that win, Stubbs believes the Hibs support was probably split 50/50 as to whether they’d take the cup win ahead of promotion but insisted he was more than happy to have seen his successor Neil Lennon succeed in his first attempt.

He said: “When you look at the bigger picture realistically that was probably the best chance of Hibs going up. That’s not to take any credit away from Neil – I am delighted for him and all the players. I couldn’t be happier.

“The first two years were the most difficult the Championship has ever been. A club the size of Hibs wanted to get out of it, ideally in the first year and other than that, as quickly as possible.

“But the most important thing was building the club to where it is now, for that not to happen again. There were things wrong and that’s why it [relegation] happened. However, behind the scenes with the structures that have been put in place a lot of people will be confident this is a different club now compared to what it was then.”

Not surprisingly Stubbs hails the influence chief executive Leeann Dempster has brought to bear but also insisted chairman Rod Petrie deserved credit for having the courage to bring her in from Motherwell.

He said: “At the time Rod took a lot of criticism. It was a really tough time, but it was a bold move for him to bring Leeann in and it has paid huge dividends.

“Leeann has been a breath of fresh air. George Craig [head of football operations] has done a great job as has Graeme Mathie [head of player identification and recruitment]. There’s a real structure there, you see a lot of meat put on the bone and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”

A feature of Stubbs’ second season as head coach was the regularity with which Hibs took on and defeated Premiership clubs, Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone all falling en route to the League Cup final while Capital rivals Hearts, Inverness Caley and United were all beaten before Championship winners Rangers in the Scottish Cup final.

It’s a trait which continued in the past season with Stubbs at Hampden to witness Lennon’s side coming within a whisker of making it back-to-back Scottish Cup finals only to lose to a cruel deflection to Aberdeen.

He said: “When I was there our record against Premiership teams was as good as anyone’s and they have carried it on this season. The record against Hearts, what is it six or seven unbeaten, is probably the strongest it has been for a while.

“We were confident last season when we brought them back to Easter Road that we’d win and it was very similar this season.

“I was working for Sky at the semi-final and Hibs were very unlucky. They had a difficult start but again showed character to come back into the game. They made Aberdeen wobble and the game could have gone either way. There’s not many teams who can give Aberdeen a 2-0 start and nearly pull it off.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451377.1495223121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451377.1495223121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alan Stubbs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alan Stubbs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451377.1495223121!/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-joelle-murray-will-make-presence-felt-if-on-bench-for-final-1-4451367","id":"1.4451367","articleHeadline": "Hibs Joelle Murray will make presence felt if on bench for final","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495258233000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs Ladies captain Joelle Murray might not be leading her side out for tomorrow’s SWPL Cup final against Celtic but that won’t stop her from making her presence known on the touchline.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451366.1495210936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joelle Murray"} ,"articleBody": "

The 30-year-old Scotland internationalist has been limited to just two appearances in a green-and-white jersey this season having suffered a stress response tibia fracture whilst playing for the national team in the Cyprus Cup in March.

Her rehabilitation has taken longer than she had anticipated but she did manage 30 minutes for Chris Roberts’ side against Spartans Women six days ago.

Midfielder Rachael Small has taken on the captaincy role in the defender’s absence and Murray doesn’t expect that to change at Broadwood tomorrow afternoon.

“I may be the club captain but I certainly don’t expect to start every week and I’ve told Chris that,” she explained. “The girls have done fantastic so far this year so who am I to dictate saying ‘I need 60 minutes game time here and more minutes there’. It doesn’t work like that.

“I’m pretty good at using my experience and being pretty vocal even if I’m not on the pitch. So even though I haven’t been playing this season I think my presence has been there and that will be the same tomorrow if I start on the bench.

“The injury is getting better every week. I needed to rest to allow the bone and the tendon to calm down as I was just doing too much. The last few weeks I’ve been stepping things up so hopefully I get some more minutes under my belt tomorrow.

“It’s been a long and frustrating period but it’s been great to see how the girls have started the season. Other than the blip against Glasgow City in the league a couple of weeks ago, we’ve played really well.”

Hibs have beaten Celtic twice already in the league this season, their latest victory a 2-1 success at Lennoxtown on Tuesday night. However, Murray believes the onus is on the Capital side to take the game to their opponents given they are the holders of the trophy.

“We know Celtic’s qualities so we’re expecting a tight game but we have a great belief throughout our team,” she said. “We know on our day we can beat anyone. There hasn’t been much between the clubs in the previous two meetings this season but we want to pick up the first piece of silverware of the campaign. We are the holders after all.

“But I suppose when you look at the flip side of it Celtic haven’t won anything for quite a while so they’ll be hungry to do so. I know it’s a cliche but you can’t really compare league games to cup matches, especially a final. It’s a different ball game altogether.”

One player that definitely won’t be involved in Cumbernauld tomorrow but is still hoping to lend her support is winger Lizzie Arnot. The 21-year-old has just undergone surgery on her ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament having broke down during a training session with the Capital outfit last month. It has come as a devastating blow to Arnot who was almost certain to be included in the Scotland squad for this summer’s European Championships in the Netherlands, a tournament Murray is also expected to be involved in.

“It would be great if Lizzie could be there tomorrow,” Murray said. “She had her operation on Thursday and it all went well so she’s back home recovering. She’s hoping to be there so if we could win it for her then that would be great. It’s a horrible injury and especially for it to happen to someone like Lizzie given what’s ahead. But we’re a close-knit team so we’ll make sure she still feels involved.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL MCGLADE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451366.1495210936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451366.1495210936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Joelle Murray","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joelle Murray","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451366.1495210936!/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-wait-of-114-years-is-finally-ended-1-4450209","id":"1.4450209","articleHeadline": "Hibee History: Wait of 114 years is finally ended","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495258200000 ,"articleLead": "

Captain David Gray powered home an injury-time header as Hibs won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years in a drama-packed final at Hampden.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450208.1495129219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gray gets his head to the ball to score in added-on time at Hampden. Picture: Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

The banner opposite the tunnel read “Time for Heroes” as the teams took to the field, but little could those Hibs fans holding it have dreamt of the response they’d get with the Edinburgh club ahead in less than three minutes.

It was the persistence of player of the year John McGinn who initiated the move with a typically surging run and, although he was fouled by Andrew Halliday, referee Steven McLean played what turned out to be a fantastic advantage.

Jason Cummings picked up the loose ball and set Anthony Stokes away, the on-loan Celtic striker raced into the penalty area and was composure personified as he guided the ball into the far corner of Wes Foderingham’s net.

Later on in the half, McGinn attempted an audacious chip which had Foderingham quickly backtracking and thankful to see the ball land on the roof of his net.

Rangers would have been grateful not to have been swept aside but they hauled themselves level, pretty much against the run of play, in the 27th minute as James Tavernier found space to deliver a cross which found Kenny Miller rising above McGregor to bullet home an unstoppable header.

Incredibly, Hibs could have been back ahead within 60 seconds, Stokes beating Foderingham all ends up with a tremendous strike which crashed back off the inside of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post.

And Rangers were also left cursing the woodwork when Miller got his head to Barrie McKay’s corner, the former Hibs striker only a couple of inches away from giving his side an unlikely lead.

Stokes had proved to be the dangerman for Hibs throughout the first half and he was at it again five minutes after the restart, firing in a dipping shot from 25 yards which had Forderingham scrambling down at his right-hand post to touch the ball past. But Rangers took the lead for the first time in the game in the 64th minute.

Halliday was allowed too much time as he sized up a left-foot shot which sped across Hibs goalkeeper Conrad Logan and in at the far post.

Hibs manager Alan Stubbs reacted by throwing on James Keatings and Liam Henderson for Cummings and Liam Fontaine, moving from a 3-5-2 formation to 4-4-2 in an effort to get that equaliser, Stokes going close but not close enough as he cut in from the left only to see his shot rise over the target.

The Republic of Ireland internationalist, however, wasn’t to be denied ten minutes from time when he outmuscled Tavernier to get his head to Henderson’s corner, bulleting the ball high into Foderingham’s net. And, as the game moved into four minutes of added on time, only the fingertips of Foderingham prevented Keatings getting on the end of Stokes cross.

Not that it mattered though, Gray powering in a header from Henderson’s corner to win the match.

Hibs: Logan, McGregor, Hanlon (Gunnarsson 83), Fontaine (Henderson 70), Gray, Fyvie, McGeouch, McGinn, Stevenson, Cummings (Keatings 65), Stokes. Substitutes not used: Oxley, Bartley, Boyle, Dagnall.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace, Zelalem (Shiels 63), Halliday, Holt, McKay, Waghorn (Clark 75), Miller. Substitutes not used: Bell, Law, Burt.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hibs 3, Rangers 2: May 21, 2016"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450208.1495129219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450208.1495129219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Gray gets his head to the ball to score in added-on time at Hampden. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gray gets his head to the ball to score in added-on time at Hampden. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450208.1495129219!/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-swanson-shaun-woodburn-inspired-me-to-join-hibs-1-4451198","id":"1.4451198","articleHeadline": "Danny Swanson: Shaun Woodburn inspired me to join Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495204340000 ,"articleLead": "

Danny Swanson has revealed that one of the main reasons for joining Hibs next season is because his late friend Shaun Woodburn wanted to see him play in the green-and-white.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451196.1495204338!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson points to the skies after scoring for St Johnstone. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Woodburn, who played junior football for Bonnyrigg, tragically died at the turn of the year and Swanson was a close friend of the 30-year-old. He was attacked and stabbed while out celebrating with friends.

Swanson said: “Once Hibs came in, that changed my mind right away. I lost my friend, Shaun Woodburn, who was always at me to sign for Hibs. That had a big part to play. He died on Hogmanay at my dad’s pub. It was a really hard time. “I was still wanting to go to England but that changed my mind and I wanted to stay at home. I’ll play for him and I’m just glad I’ll get the chance to do it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451196.1495204338!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451196.1495204338!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Swanson points to the skies after scoring for St Johnstone. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson points to the skies after scoring for St Johnstone. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451196.1495204338!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4451197.1495204340!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4451197.1495204340!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shaun Woodburn","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shaun Woodburn","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4451197.1495204340!/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/tributes-paid-to-hibs-legend-eric-stevenson-after-cancer-battle-1-4450111","id":"1.4450111","articleHeadline": "Tributes paid to Hibs legend Eric Stevenson after cancer battle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495171800000 ,"articleLead": "

Tributes were today being paid to former Hibs winger Eric Stevenson, who has died at the age of 74 following a battle with cancer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450110.1495123413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eric Stevenson and John Connelly during the Hibs v St Johnstone game at Easter Road in August 1970."} ,"articleBody": "

Throughout the 1960s, Stevenson provided plenty of entertainment for the Easter Road support, giving the Capital club ten years of service as he played 390 games, scoring 79 goals.

As a lifelong Hibs fan Stevenson had actually begun his career by signing for arch-rivals Hearts as a schoolboy. He had, however, put his name to a full professional contract, the intent being it would be kept in the drawer of Hearts manager Tommy Walker until he was old enough.

The SFA, however, got wind of what had happened leading to a £150 fine for the Gorgie club and one of £75 for Walker.

Hibs stepped in to sign the youngster – born on Christmas Day 1942 in the South Lanarkshire mining village of Eastfield – and before the age of 18 he’d made his debut alongside Ronnie Simpson and Sammy Baird.

Equally at home on either wing, Stevenson invariably sported the No.11 shirt, performing not only on the domestic stage but on those big European nights against the likes of Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade and Valencia while his performance against AS Roma saw him linked with a move to Italian side Lazio while he was still a teenager.

Stevenson scored in Hibs’ 3-0 win over FC Porto at Easter Road and also did so against Lisbon club Belenenses and Olimpija Ljubljana but, he reserved some of his best performances for Edinburgh derbies, the object of some choice abuse from the Hearts support who saw a player dubbed “The Rebel” as having rejected their club.

Perhaps the most memorable was the derby of September 1965 when, in a whirlwind start, Hibs went 4-0 up with all four goals coming in the opening ten minutes with Stevenson and Jimmy O’Rourke claiming two each.

Other than one appearance for the Scottish League, international recognition eluded Stevenson – who readily admitted he enjoyed the social side of football – a fact which former Hibs captain Pat Stanton confesses still bemuses him.

He said: “Eric was a really, really good player, a lot quicker than people thought. I’ve always thought it was hard to believe a player like that was never capped for Scotland when you look back at some who have been over the years. Some deserved it, some made you wonder.

“But Eric could have played on that stage, no problem. He was an exciting player but on a personal level what I remember is when I first started, coming in from Bonnyrigg Rose – Eric lived there – we’d sometimes travel in his car and he’d give you little bits of advice.

“He was a big, big help to me and if you did well he was genuinely pleased for you. I was actually out to see Eric at his home a couple of weeks ago and although you could see he was ill he was still very lucid. Davie Hogg, another former Hibs player, was there so we had a good chat about the older days.”

Stanton described Stevenson as one of the nicest people you could get to know, a sentiment echoed by Easter Road historian Tom Wright, who co-wrote Stevenson’s recently published book “Hibs Through and Through”.

He said: “It was a pleasure to have watched Eric play so many great games but I’d really got to know him in the last couple of years.

“Eric just got on with everybody. Writing the book, looking for a wee bit of spice I’d ask him about certain players saying ‘I’d heard he was a right so and so,’ but Eric would just say ‘I liked him’.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450110.1495123413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450110.1495123413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Eric Stevenson and John Connelly during the Hibs v St Johnstone game at Easter Road in August 1970.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eric Stevenson and John Connelly during the Hibs v St Johnstone game at Easter Road in August 1970.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450110.1495123413!/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/new-hibs-man-danny-swanson-i-made-up-my-hearts-allegiance-1-4450159","id":"1.4450159","articleHeadline": "New Hibs man Danny Swanson: I made up my Hearts allegiance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495143013000 ,"articleLead": "

Danny Swanson today exposed the secrets behind his dream move to boyhood heroes Hibs. The St Johnstone midfielder admitted he tried to force a switch to both Hibs and Saints in 2015 rather than join Hearts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450158.1495204151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson says embracing the Hearts badge was all an act"} ,"articleBody": "

He also stressed he has never supported the Tynecastle side and only claimed to be a fan to curry favour with their supporters when he signed.

Swanson explained that Hibs are the only club he would leave St Johnstone for – and that he was ready to sign a new contract at McDiarmid Park until the Easter Road club 
intervened.

The 30-year-old agreed a pre-contract with Hibs last month and will join them for pre-season training next month. Crossing the Edinburgh divide doesn’t faze him because he is realising a childhood ambition.

“I’m just getting this out there now. I remember doing an interview when I was at Hearts,” recalled Swanson. “I had to try and get them on my side so I’m giving it: ‘I’m a Hearts fan.’ Just to say, on the record, I’ve never been a Hearts fan. My granny and granda are but all this ‘my dad’s a Hearts fan,’ it’s not so much true.

“You try to get them on your side but it didn’t really help. I’m definitely not a Hearts fan. I still get people asking me if I’m a Hearts fan. No. No chance.

“Here’s something: I texted Alan Stubbs before I signed for Hearts. I phoned Tommy Wright before I signed for Hearts to try and get something sorted. Even though I was excited to sign for Hearts, I tried to get to Hibs. Alan Stubbs said: ‘Nope.’ So I ended up going to Hearts and played really well – not.”

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright offered Swanson a mammoth contract hoping to persuade him to stay. He scored 15 goals in 38 appearances this season, but the pull of Hibs was too strong for the player. It is the second time he has left Perth after a productive spell there.

“Me and the gaffer have a great relationship but ever since I was a wee boy I always wanted to play for Hibs and that’s never changed,” said Swanson. “I’ve turned them down a couple of times to try and play at the highest level in England, but I always felt I was destined to end up there. Thankfully it’s happened.

“To be honest, I didn’t have the bottle to tell Tommy at first. We had a lot of chats about me staying here and St Johnstone offered me a really good deal. Money-wise, it was above and beyond what I expected.

“I think he did understand. He was a bit disappointed I didn’t sign here. I did tell him about other clubs interested. I told him who they were and that I’d turned them down to stay here. If it wasn’t Hibs, I’d still be here.

“From the day I signed for Hibs, he’s never changed. That’s something I really respect him for. A lot of people say he’s resurrected my career and I think he has. He’s just let me go and play and enjoy myself.

“He’s told me already he can’t save me again so I need this to work out. I’m looking forward to getting back after the summer and playing for Hibs.”

READ MORE – Swanson: My late friend Shaun Woodburn wanted me to play for Hibs

Swanson played his last game for St Johnstone on Wednesday night, teeing up the winning goal for Chris Kane in the 1-0 win against Hearts. He misses the last game of the season through suspension.

“I was a bit sad in the changing room with the boys but the fans were great with me considering I’d already signed for another team. They stuck by me and I’m glad I helped the club get into Europe,” he said.

“I left here before and went back to Coventry and I didn’t feel the same. I was always looking forward to going back there but it was different this time. I’ve played with the boys all season and it’s been a big decision for me. I’ve really enjoyed my football here but the pull was because it was Hibs.

“I can’t say anything negative about St Johnstone at all. I’ve loved it here and the gaffer, Callum [Davidson] and Eck [Alex Cleland] have all been excellent. The boys have been great as well. You won’t get a better bunch.”

Swanson is already eager to experience the Edinburgh derby as a Hibs player next season. He made the most of his assist against Hearts on Wednesday with a fist-pump at their travelling fans.

“You’ve got to. I’ve been slaughtered enough by them to be fair,” he said. “It’s all part of the game. You give it out and you have to take it. I can’t wait for the derbies next year. It will be nervous times but I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve been to a lot of derby games and it hasn’t been great for Hibs over the years. Recently it has, but the ones I used to go to weren’t nice.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450158.1495204151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450158.1495204151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Swanson says embracing the Hearts badge was all an act","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson says embracing the Hearts badge was all an act","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450158.1495204151!/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-expects-fontaine-and-boyle-to-sign-new-deals-1-4449804","id":"1.4449804","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss expects Fontaine and Boyle to sign new deals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495113489000 ,"articleLead": "

Liam Fontaine and Martin Boyle are set to extend their stints at Hibs, Neil Lennon has confirmed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4449803.1495133058!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Fontaine is keen to be part of Hibs' return to the Premiership"} ,"articleBody": "

The two players were among a batch of first-team mainstays whose contracts expired this summer, and both are ready to follow the lead of team-mates Marvin Bartley, Darren McGregor, David Gray, Ross Laidlaw and Lewis Stevenson, who finalised new two-year deals last week.

Fontaine, the 31-year-old centre-back, is closing in on 100 appearances for Hibs since joining the club three years ago, while Boyle, the 24-year-old attacker, has scored 18 goals since first arriving at the club on loan from Dundee two-and-a-half years ago.

“I think Fontaine’s signed and Martin’s agreed to sign,” Lennon said in an interview with Hibs Fans News.

The future of midfielder Fraser Fyvie, the last remaining Hibs player whose deal expires this summer, is set to be resolved when he returns from his family holiday.

Lennon is confident of securing defender Efe Ambrose, who enjoyed a fruitful short-term loan at Easter Road towards the end of the season, on a permanent basis once his departure from Celtic is confirmed. The manager also remains optimistic that a deal can be struck with FC Ashdod to bring Israeli international goalkeeper Ofir Marciano back to the club after a successful season-long loan. In addition, he is keen to beef up the attacking department of his squad following the departures of Grant Holt, James Keatings, Chris Humphrey and Alex Harris.

“We’re very close to getting Efe over the line,” he said. “We’re really hoping to get Marciano done as well. He’s really keen on staying so we’ve already made strides in that regard. If we can get that sorted, it’ll be a good start for next season.

“Then we’re working on four or five other players to bring in. I need a striker. I’ve lost Holty and James Keatings so it’s really important to get a striker. I’d like to strengthen the wide areas and get a goalscoring midfielder as well. There are three or four key areas we’re looking at.”

Lennon played down any likelihood of former Celtic, Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United defender Kelvin Wilson arriving at Easter Road this summer. The 31-year-old told media earlier this week that he had spoken with Hibs, but Lennon insists that conversation was held in January. He implied that if he is able to add Ambrose to a central defensive unit that already includes Fontaine, McGregor, Paul Hanlon and Jordon Forster, he will need no more players for this position.

“Kelvin Wilson was quoted as saying we had spoken,” said Lennon. “We spoke in January when we had a centre-half crisis but Kelvin didn’t want to come at that time. If we get Efe in the building, I think we’re pretty much almost there with the back four.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4449803.1495133058!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4449803.1495133058!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Fontaine is keen to be part of Hibs' return to the Premiership","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Fontaine is keen to be part of Hibs' return to the Premiership","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4449803.1495133058!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4450245.1495134028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4450245.1495134028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Boyle is set to sign on at Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle is set to sign on at Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4450245.1495134028!/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/former-hibs-winger-eric-stevenson-dies-aged-74-1-4449397","id":"1.4449397","articleHeadline": "Former Hibs winger Eric Stevenson dies aged 74","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495101496000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Hibs winger Eric Stevenson has died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4449396.1495101794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eric Stevenson spent ten years at Hibs. Pic: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

A lifelong fan of the Easter Road club. Stevenson was born on Christmas Day 1942 in the South Lanarkshire mining village of Eastfield. Stevenson actually signed for Capital rivals Hearts as a schoolboy, but Hibs stepped in after a contract irregularity led to the Tynecastle outfit being fined and unable to hold on to him.

Equally comfortable on either wing although he was usually seen in the No.11 jersey, Stevenson went on to play for Hibs for ten years, making 390 appearances and scoring 79 goals, including two in a 4-0 derby defeat of Hearts in Gorgie in 1965, all four goals coming in the opening ten minutes.

He moved to Ayr United shortly after Eddie Turnbull’s arrival as manager, but ended his career only a few months later to concentrate on his business interests in Bonnyrigg.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4449396.1495101794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4449396.1495101794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Eric Stevenson spent ten years at Hibs. Pic: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eric Stevenson spent ten years at Hibs. Pic: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4449396.1495101794!/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-have-lost-element-of-surprise-says-boss-neil-lennon-1-4448876","id":"1.4448876","articleHeadline": "Hibs have lost element of surprise, says boss Neil Lennon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495085456000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon believes Hibs have lost the element of surprise as they prepare to return to the Ladbrokes Premiership as a result of the success the club has enjoyed in the past two seasons.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448875.1495046229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon"} ,"articleBody": "

After three years in the Championship, many might think Lennon’s players could well be an unknown quantity. However, the Hibs boss reckons that, in fact, his team are “household names”. Hibs backed up last season’s historic Scottish Cup triumph by taking the Championship title and, in doing, so Lennon insists his players have risen to the challenge when needed, Premiership sides Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone all beaten en route to the League Cup final while Hearts, Inverness, the then holders, and United again all fell as they returned to Hampden for that epic day last May.

And, in the season just ended, Hearts were again knocked out of the Scottish Cup while Hibs’ hopes of retaining the trophy were only ended in a five-goal thriller against the Dons, a match which Lennon firmly believes they could well have won.

While their Championship campaign suffered a few hiccups before the title was clinched with three games remaining, Lennon was adamant his players had turned it on when needed.

“We were perceived as the big fish,” he said. “But Dundee United were always going to be there, as were Falkirk.

“We were the pre-season favourites and we had to carry that all season.

“There were a few hitches – but we were always going to get that. We only lost three games, one when we were down to ten men, one by a penalty and one in which we deserved to be beaten.

“When the big games came round and we needed to win we were brilliant and we showed great steel and strength in the two games against Hearts. “Unfortunately we didn’t go all the way in the semi-final, but now we have a lot to look forward to.”

When asked if his side could catch their Premiership opponents on the hop, Lennon said: “I think they are household names. The majority of them have won two trophies in two years.

“It has been a great ride and we want that to continue.

“We have our eyes on silverware and a strong performance in the league.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4448875.1495046229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448875.1495046229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4448875.1495046229!/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/ex-hibee-ivan-sproule-out-to-give-something-back-as-boss-1-4448879","id":"1.4448879","articleHeadline": "Ex-Hibee Ivan Sproule out to ‘give something back’ as boss","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495085433000 ,"articleLead": "

Ivan Sproule admits his playing career reads like a fairytale, the welder plucked from the obscurity of part-time football in Northern Ireland to become a household name “across the water”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448877.1495046947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ivan Sproule turned down offers from bigger teams to take over as the new boss of Ardstraw FC, a club near his home in Northern Ireland"} ,"articleBody": "

From a reserve match against Motherwell at Stenhousemuir in which another newcomer Amadou Konte scored three, the Castelderg flying machine went on to become the first Hibs player to score a hat-trick at Ibrox in a century, lifted the CIS Insurance Cup, starred in an English Premiership play-off final in front of 85,000 at Wembley and made his international debut with a win against England.

Now the 36-year-old has begun his own quest to help put the next young Irish hopeful on the path to stardom having taken his first managerial job as player/boss of Ardrstraw FC, a little club with big ambitions based just ten minutes from his home.

After two knee operations Sproule found himself still in demand both as a player and with offers to become an assistant manager at a higher level. However, the chance to be his own man proved too good to resist.

He said: “You never know when it’s the right time but Ardstraw have, over the last few years, put the foundations in place, they have fantastic facilities, as good as a pro set-up, and are trying to progress. That gives me a good starting point in trying to bring players in.

“It’s a local club, I know all the people on the committee and in recent years they’ve been going close so, I think, they see me as someone who can knock them over the line.

“We are in the Northern 
Ireland Intermediate League, the third tier, but we have ambitions to go all the way up. It’s a change, something different but this is the way I wanted to do it and I know the club are wanting to back me. Hopefully, I can bring a higher profile and with my influence bring a few signings.”

At present, Ardstraw’s players are unpaid but Sproule has already begun to make his mark, signing his brother Andrew – who many would argue shares his electrifying turn of pace.

He said: “It wasn’t easy because he’s my brother, but Andrew is probably in the best nick of his life and could be playing at a higher level. I’m speaking to three or four others I’m hoping to tempt to the club but I’m looking forward to working with the younger players in particular.

“Anyone who knows my history knows I came from amateur football, someone from very much a rural area where few make it across the water and then go on to play for their country. I’m looking to give something back to the local area and, who knows, maybe find the next Ivan Sproule.

“I know when I came to Scotland – someone who wasn’t known at all – I had a big mountain to climb. There were a lot of people ready to write me off believing I’d be sent back pretty quickly. I proved them wrong. For me, it became a dream career.

“I played for Hibs, a club I still call my club, played in a great side and won a cup with them. I had four years playing for Bristol City in the English Championship, came back to Hibs and then Ross County before coming home and signing for Linfield.

“I played at Wembley in front of 85,000 people. I can remember warming up alongside Jermain Defoe before going on to make my debut for Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast against England, a European Championship qualifying match we won 1-0, the first time we’d beaten them in more than 30 years.

“It sounds crazy for someone where I came from but it shows what can happen with hard work and it’s inspired me to try to give something back to my local area.”

Sproule, who was reunited with the CIS Cup-winning team of 2007 only a few weeks ago at Easter Road, intends to combine playing with management. He said: “I’ve had two knee operations but I’ve got myself back fit and in shape again. I did have offers to go and play in the Irish League but I knew my heart wasn’t really in it. I’m aiming to be our player/manager but most of all I’m looking forward to working with the younger players, that’s where my heart lies.”

Admitting he was a fiery character as a player, Sproule agrees there may be some fans, former team-mates and probably the odd ex-manager, who’ll find the step he’s taken something of a surprise but, he insisted, there’s much he has learned since becoming a surprise £5000 signing by Hibs boss Tony Mowbray 12 years ago before making that £500,000 switch to Bristol City.

He said: “I had offers to come in as an assistant manager at a higher level but that didn’t appeal. I like to do things my way and if anything goes wrong then I only have myself to blame. The buck stops with me.

“I had to work hard as a player and hopefully that’s what I can pass on to my young players, to give it everything and hopefully their career will kick on and they’ll find the chance to push on and not only play in the NIFL Premiership but across the water. Players don’t just need to come through club academies. Just look at Jamie Vardy of Leicester City, for instance.”

As for his own management style? “I’ve done my coaching badges and I think they are an excellent thing. But I also think there are a lot of good coaches without badges and good players who haven’t come through academies.

“I gave everything I ever had for every manager,” he said. “My career was moulded by them. I’d like to think man-management is one of my strongest parts, making people believe in themselves. I think my own story, from being a welder to standing waiting to go on and play for my country. shows what can happen.

“Hopefully I can find another, perhaps send him over to Hibs and see him go on to collect his own hat-trick at Ibrox.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4448877.1495046947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448877.1495046947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ivan Sproule turned down offers from bigger teams to take over as the new boss of Ardstraw FC, a club near his home in Northern Ireland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ivan Sproule turned down offers from bigger teams to take over as the new boss of Ardstraw FC, a club near his home in Northern Ireland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4448877.1495046947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4448878.1495046951!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448878.1495046951!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ivan Sproule celebrates his stunning hat-trick for Hibs at Ibrox in 2005","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ivan Sproule celebrates his stunning hat-trick for Hibs at Ibrox in 2005","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4448878.1495046951!/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-are-aiming-for-second-says-neil-lennon-1-4447751","id":"1.4447751","articleHeadline": "Hibs are aiming for second, says Neil Lennon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495010277000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon has laid down a marker to his Hibernian team, saying “I want to finish best of the rest”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447750.1495010279!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon is targeting a second place finish. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey"} ,"articleBody": "

Speaking on BT Sport’s Scottish Football Extra show, the Hibs boss was asked if his team could finish second and above capital rivals Heart of Midlothian.

“That’s the intention,” he responded. “It’s important we keep momentum. What the players have shown over the last two years, particularly in the cup competitions when they’ve played against Premiership opposition they can certainly hold their own if not better.”

Lennon has pinpointed recruitment as the key to achieving a runners-up spot on their return to the top-flight after three seasons away. If the club were to reach that target it would be the first time they’ve finished in second spot in the top tier since 1975.

“I think it depends how well we recruit,” he said. “We’ve had a good look at Aberdeen this season, we’ve played Hearts over two games and they are teams who are there or thereabouts. I think Rangers will be stronger next season.

“Our challenge is first of all top six then can we progress from there but I want to finish best of the rest.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS WRIGHT"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4447750.1495010279!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447750.1495010279!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon is targeting a second place finish. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon is targeting a second place finish. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4447750.1495010279!/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/ex-hibs-captain-ian-murray-opens-up-on-life-coaching-in-norway-1-4447207","id":"1.4447207","articleHeadline": "Ex-Hibs captain Ian Murray opens up on life coaching in Norway","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1494999050000 ,"articleLead": "

At this time of year, Ian Murray would usually be packing his suitcase and joining Scottish football’s annual dash for the beaches of the Mediterranean and beyond.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447204.1494970125!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Murray"} ,"articleBody": "

But it’s a summer with a difference for the ex-Hibs captain, hard at work alongside former Easter Road team-mate Kevin Nicol as they negotiate the early weeks of the season with Norwegian side Asker.

Nicol has, of course, been s resident in Scandinavia for many years, turning his hand to management in some style as he guided the club into the second division and kept them there despite league reorganisation which resulted in the seven bottom clubs being relegated.

And Murray had no hesitation in joining him in the town situated between Oslo and Drammen when asked to become Nicol’s right-hand man.

However, in a season which began in April, there’s no break until July before the action gets under way again.

“It’s a bit different,” admitted Murray. “But in terms of football it’s much the same, getting a good pre-season in as you gear up for the start of the season and then the games come thick and fast.”

So far results have been mixed, three draws and two defeats, although Murray insists the draws could easily have ended up as victories.

He said: “We are a very young team, but we are getting there. We were well beaten in the games we lost as we didn’t play to our level, but we felt we deserved to win the three that ended in draws.

“But overall we are comfortable with the start we have made. The games we’ve had were probably the hardest we could have picked, but now we are getting towards a period of the season when we can pick up a few points.

“Kevin did really well last season as the leagues were re-regionalised, which meant seven teams stayed up and seven went down. Asker had just won promotion, but they finished fourth, which we’d like to at least equal.

“It’s only our second year in this league so we are looking to consolidate and then push on, if not this year then next.

“To me, though, it is very much like the Championship in Scotland, everyone is capable of beating everyone else.”

The changes to the league mean there isn’t as much travelling as Murray might have anticipated, although this weekend Asker head for Alta, nearly 800 miles to the north and close to the border with Russia, meaning a flight on Friday morning returning on Sunday.

However, as new as he might be to Norwegian football, Murray revealed varying kick off times has allowed him, along with Nicol, to quickly build up his knowledge of opposition teams.

Having spent so long playing in Scotland and England, the 36-year-old is well used to having matches rearranged to accommodate television cameras and in Norway it’s exactly the same – except football is at the mercy of a betting company.

He said: “Games can be quite staggered but it’s been good for me as I’ve been able to get about and to know the league and the players from other clubs.

“But it’s like anywhere else, they sponsor the league, put the money in and so we need them as much as football in Britain needs the television money.

“To be honest, I don’t think Norway has a big betting culture. I certainly haven’t heard any of the players talk about it and walking about the streets you don’t see bookies’ shops.”

And as ever in football there are the haves and the have nots, Murray revealing: “Norway is a wealthy country and there are people who can afford to put money in to their local team. There are big benefactors who will pump the cash in take pride in seeing their local area do well.

“It gives them a slight advantage in terms of finance, but Asker are in a good catchment area to attract good players.”

The language barrier is something Murray hasn’t had to contend with, the vast majority of the Asker squad, like most Scandinavians, able to speak almost fluent English while he has been picking up a smattering of Norwegian.

He said: “I’ve been picking up words here and there, little things like football terms, although I don’t really need to use them.

“Kevin, of course, has helped me adjust but it’s like any other group of guys, getting used to each other and adapting. It’s not been a problem.

“Pre-season, though, was pretty full on. They don’t mess about with ten subs made during those friendly games. It’s taken pretty seriously from the off.

“We started back in January and although we had ten days in Portugal and then a week off, it’s a long time from then until July. We’ll get a break of ten or 12 days then when I’ll be able to come home again to see the family before the second half of the season gets under way.

“Yes, it was something of a gamble to move to Norway, but sometimes you have to make a decision and this was an opportunity to experience something different.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4447204.1494970125!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447204.1494970125!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Murray","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Murray","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4447204.1494970125!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4447206.1494970128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447206.1494970128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kevin Nicol is head coach at Asker","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kevin Nicol is head coach at Asker","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4447206.1494970128!/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/neil-lennon-hoping-to-land-ambrose-and-marciano-at-hibs-1-4447354","id":"1.4447354","articleHeadline": "Neil Lennon hoping to land Ambrose and Marciano at Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1494999023000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon has revealed Hibs are locked in talks aimed at bringing Efe Ambrose back to Easter Road, while he is still hopeful of clinching a deal to sign Israeli goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447353.1494962115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon"} ,"articleBody": "

But the Hibs boss insisted reports linking him with moves for a clutch of former Celtic players were nothing more than speculation, joking that Tottenham Hotspur’s £12 million midfielder Victor Wanyama would be the next on his list.

Although Lennon has succeeded, as he wanted, to keep the nucleus of the squad which has returned the Capital club to the Premiership intact, skipper David Gray, Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson, Marvin Bartley and Ross Laidlaw having all signed new deals, he is intent on adding further quality.

He’s made no secret of the fact he’d like to see Nigerian internationalist Ambrose return, the defender having become a firm favourite with the Hibs support after he made the move from Celtic to Edinburgh on an emergency loan, while Marciano, who spent the season on loan from Ashdod in his homeland, also impressed.

Lennon is still awaiting replies from Fraser Fyvie, Martin Boyle and Liam Fontaine to the offers they have been made but wants to bring in new faces as he is intent on seeing Hibs make an impact on their return to the top flight after a three year absence.

He said: “We have already got Danny Swanson [from St Johnstone] in, we have talks with Efe ongoing and hopefully we will get Ofir back.

“I think sometimes momentum is important going into a new season so on top of what we have we want to add some quality – watch this space.”

In recent days Lennon has been reported as being interested in bringing striker Anthony Stokes back to Easter Road for a third time, the pair having been photographed enjoying a drink together in Dublin, while Kris Commons, who played five matched for Hibs in a short emergency loan deal in mid-season, will see his Celtic contract come to an end in the next few weeks.

Former Hoops defender Kelvin Wilson has become the latest said to be open to a move to Hibs, the 31-year-old, a free agent having left relegated English Championship side Rotherham United, revealing: “I have spoken to Lenny. I do not know what is going to happen next.”

But asked about the possibility of the likes of Commons and Wilson coming to Easter Road, Lennon said: “I’m linked to every ex-Celtic player. The next one will be Hooper [sold by him to Norwich City for £5 million but now with Sheffield Wednesday] and Wanyama, but they are just out of my price range.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4447353.1494962115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447353.1494962115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4447353.1494962115!/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/our-region/edinburgh/leith/hibs-legends-unite-for-shaun-woodburn-charity-match-1-4447461","id":"1.4447461","articleHeadline": "Hibs legends unite for Shaun Woodburn charity match","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1494963302000 ,"articleLead": "

A HOST of Hibs legends will be getting together later this week for a charity match in memory of tragic former footballer Shaun Woodburn.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447468.1494963304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shaun Woodburn will be remembered during the match."} ,"articleBody": "

The event will see 16 of Shaun’s former Leith Athletic teammates take on an array of Easter Road stars, with Anthony Stokes, Kevin Thomson and Mickey Weir among those joining in.

It comes just over five months since Shaun died just 30 after being attacked in Leith while celebrating Hogmanay.

Organised by the Leith Community Fundraising Organisation – with the support of Leith Athletic – it is hoped the match could raise thousands for Street Soccer Scotland, the charity chosen by Shaun’s family.

Gerry Freedman, chairman of the organisation, said he hoped to get a good turnout at Friday night’s game, which will get under way at 6.45pm at Leith Links.

He said: “He [Shaun] was a great player but more importantly a lovely boy who played with a smile on his face.

“We are having this event to honour Shaun and give his family a insight on how much he was loved by everyone in Leith and the wider community.

“Leith has a bad press sometimes but the event will show the real Leith, looking after our own.”

Shaun, who was a Hibs fan himself, started his juvenile football career with Leith Athletic at the age of 11, playing for the club until he was 19.

The eldest of five children, he went on to sign for Bonnyrigg Rose in 2012 before leaving some time later to spend more time with his family.

Mr Freedman, honorary life chairman and founding member of Leith Athletic, said he was sure the event would be an “emotional” night.

He added: “It’s for charity but it’s more for Shaun to honour his memory.

“He was a very good player but he was a lovely kid and turned into a lovely man. It’s just so tragic. We are going to make it a night to remember.

“I am sure it will be an emotional night.”

As well as the match itself, the fundraiser will also include a half-time penalty shoot-out starring ex-Hibs stars Anthony Stokes and Kevin Thomson and ex-Leith Athletic player Lee Currie.

The line-up will also include Danny Swanson, also an ex-Leith Athletic player who has signed a pre-contract and play with Hibs next season.

Other former Hibs stars set to play in the match include Darren Jackson, Gareth Evans, Gary Smith, Graham Harvey, Gordon Hunter, Colin Nish, Steven Raynes, Mark McGraw, Willie Jamieson, Tam Aitchison, Keith Wright and Billy Bauld. More information on the match is available on the ‘Leith Legends v Hibs Legends’ Facebook page.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4447468.1494963304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4447468.1494963304!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shaun Woodburn will be remembered during the match.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shaun Woodburn will be remembered during the match.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4447468.1494963304!/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/it-wasn-t-luck-former-hibee-smith-on-sending-raith-down-1-4446401","id":"1.4446401","articleHeadline": "‘It wasn’t luck’ – former Hibee Smith on sending Raith down","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1494912655000 ,"articleLead": "

It may have looked as if Graeme Smith’s nerves had got the better of him as the former Hibs goalkeeper raced up the tunnel at Stark’s Park knowing he would be facing a penalty shoot-out when he re-emerged.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4446400.1494868275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Graeme Smith celebrates after saving the penalty which gave Andy Jackson the chance to score the winner for Brechin which he took"} ,"articleBody": "

But, he revealed today, that “comfort break” was the secret behind the heroics which saw Raith Rovers crash out of the Championship, humbled by part-time Brechin City who had ended the season fourth in League One.

The short spell he spent within the away dressing-room allowed him to gather his thoughts, the 33-year-old returning to save three of the six spot-kicks he faced in an afternoon of drama which keeps their promotion hopes very much alive.

Smith had already played his part in the excitement, pulling off a string of impressive first-half saves to hold Raith at bay before Rovers defender Jean-Yves M’Voto’s blunder allowed ex-Easter Road striker Ross Caldwell to open the scoring just as he had done in the first leg of the promotion play-off at Glebe Park a few days earlier.

As they had done then, the Kirkcaldy club hauled themselves level, Frenchman M’Voto powering home a header only to slip and gift Alan Trouten the chance to fire Brechin ahead again.

His strike looked very likely to prove to be the winner only for Declan McManus to equalise for a second time and send the match into extra-time.

Brechin’s efforts appeared over when Ryan Hardie put Rovers in front for the first time but they got their rewards when Liam Watt curled a superb free-kick into the net from 25 yards.

“We hadn’t scored a goal from a free-kick all season,” revealed Smith. “It was a running joke in training with everyone asking what was the point of practising.”

As the players from both teams and their respective managers, Raith’s John Hughes and Brechin’s Darren Dods, gathered to decide on who would be taking the penalties, Smith disappeared, off to the peace and quiet of the dressing-room.

He said: “The last thing I wanted was everyone saying ‘all the best’. I just took myself away to the toilet as I’d been drinking water throughout the game, had a wee rest and took my shinguards off to be more comfortable. I talked to myself to convince myself I was going to save them.

“I came out saying ‘I know what I am going to do’. I wasn’t going to try to second guess anything, I knew what I was going to do.

“It wasn’t luck, I went the same way six times and saved three of them. As a goalkeeper you have nothing to lose, I actually felt more nervous watching the guys stepping up to take them than facing them.

“When I was in the middle of the goals I was convinced I was going to save them. By that time Raith had a hell of a lot more to lose than us.”

It was another former Hibs player, midfielder Scott Robertson, playing his first game of the season for Raith after a long injury lay-off, who turned out to be the sinner, Smith saving his penalty before Andy Jackson sealed a memorable win for Dods and his players and the 249 fans behind the goal.

However, much as he was delighted, Smith has plenty of sympathy for Raith. As someone who works in sales for a security firm, he appreciates the financial hardships which may now follow for the full-time Rovers players.

He said: “It means a lot to us and our fans but, to be honest, it’s not going to change my life. I don’t have all my eggs in the one basket so I can play with a freedom.

“But for Raith, other than Danny Handling [on loan from Hibs], this might change their lives. The Raith fans clapped us off which is the biggest pat on the back we could have got while the players were gracious in defeat.

“They’ll survive, they’ll come back up and be favourites along with Ayr United to do that next season.”

Brechin now face a two-legged affair with Alloa Athletic to decide which of them will be playing Championship football with Jim Goodwin’s side having won three of their four encounters with the Glebe Park club including a 6-1 hammering only a month ago in which Smith was sent off for, he revealed: “Kicking one of them.”

The much-travelled goalie said: “Alloa will be favourites, we know we’ll probably go into the games as underdogs but that doesn’t bother us. Alloa will appreciate we have some good players, you never know.

“Last season we were bottom of the league but won eight out of our last ten matches, got out of that position in the second last game of the season and only made ourselves totally safe in the final match.

“I’ve got another year to go at Brechin and I’d obviously be delighted to see us go up. I’ll be 34 at the start of next season so it would be something of a bonus. You can’t go on forever because it does get harder as you get older.

“However, as much as I am getting the credit, it was the boys in front of me who were magnificent. The guys in midfield never stopped running and as much as we were celebrating, and as good as it was at the end, they were absolutely shattered.

“But I hope the young kids at the club appreciate moments such as this, savour them and use it as a motivation to kick on in their careers.

“You never know, some of them might have made a wee bit of a name for themselves, someone might just have been there having a look at them.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4446400.1494868275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4446400.1494868275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Graeme Smith celebrates after saving the penalty which gave Andy Jackson the chance to score the winner for Brechin which he took","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Graeme Smith celebrates after saving the penalty which gave Andy Jackson the chance to score the winner for Brechin which he took","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4446400.1494868275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}