{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hibs","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-mull-over-move-for-man-utd-starlet-josh-harrop-1-4340451","id":"1.4340451","articleHeadline": "Hibs mull over move for Man Utd starlet Josh Harrop","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484555204000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs are weighing up a move for highly-rated Manchester United midfielder Josh Harrop, according to reports.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340450.1484555151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Josh Harrop has represented England at Under-20 level. Pic: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Harrop, 21, is an England Under-20 international and is normally deployed as an attacking midfielder. The Stockport-born playmaker is likely to become Hibs’ main transfer target should the club fail to extend Kris Commons’ loan deal from Celtic, which expired at the weekend.

Hibs are understood to have watched Harrop several times in Red Devils reserve matches and have been impressed by him. United boss Jose Mourinho would not stand in the way of a loan move to Easter Road as he is keen for Harrop to get more first-team football.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340450.1484555151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340450.1484555151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Josh Harrop has represented England at Under-20 level. Pic: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Josh Harrop has represented England at Under-20 level. Pic: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340450.1484555151!/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-hope-paul-hanlon-will-return-for-next-league-match-1-4340152","id":"1.4340152","articleHeadline": "Hibs hope Paul Hanlon will return for next league match","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484548227000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon is hopeful defender Paul Hanlon will make a quick return to action after missing his first match of the season with a pelvic problem.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340151.1484499928!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs defender Paul Hanlon has a pelvic problem"} ,"articleBody": "

The 26-year-old has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks to help keep the Championship title bid on track.

But, after having an injection which it is believed will help him over the problem, Hanlon was forced to sit out the weekend win at Dumbarton which, allied to Dundee United being held to a draw at home by Queen of the South, moved Hibs six points clear at the top of the table. Hanlon had formed a formidable partnership with Darren McGregor in the centre of Hibs’ backline leading to the club boasting the tightest defence in Britain, prompting calls for Scotland boss Gordon Strachan to consider calling them up for the next World Cup qualifying match against Slovenia in March. His absence saw Liam Fontaine team up with McGregor as on-loan Celtic midfielder Kris Commons’ first-half strike was enough to earn victory over Dumbarton and an 11th clean sheet of the season for Hibs.

Hanlon will again be on the sidelines this weekend as Hibs begin their defence of the Scottish Cup against Junior outfit Bonnyrigg Rose at Tynecastle but Lennon believes the former Scotland Under-21 captain will be fit to make the trip to face Queen of the South at Palmerston Park the following weekend.

However, Hibs will be without Marvin Bartley in Dumfries, the midfield enforcer picking up a one-match suspension after being booked against Dumbarton by Nick Walsh, the referee who sent him off as Lennon’s players lost to Ayr United earlier in the season only for the red card shown to be rescinded.

Bartley had another red card shown during a 0-0 draw with Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park a month later – also revoked – but on each occasion a booking was marked against his name meaning Saturday’s yellow card was his sixth of the season thus triggering an automatic ban.

Lennon, though, was delighted to see Fraser Fyvie, out for six matches with a groin tear, return against Dumbarton, the midfielder playing the entire 90 minutes while Scotland internationalist John McGinn got another 20 minutes or so following his ankle operation. Lennon said: “With Fraser and John coming back, the squad is starting to look very strong again.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340151.1484499928!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340151.1484499928!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs defender Paul Hanlon has a pelvic problem","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs defender Paul Hanlon has a pelvic problem","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340151.1484499928!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/michael-weir-complacency-could-be-hibs-biggest-threat-1-4340153","id":"1.4340153","articleHeadline": "Michael Weir: Complacency could be Hibs’ biggest threat","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484548226000 ,"articleLead": "

Having finally got six points ahead, I’d like to think the rest of the teams will now struggle to keep pace with Hibs in the Championship title race.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339837.1484500138!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kris Common fires a shot at goal in the victory over Dumbarton. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The performance at Dumbarton wasn’t great but, as I’ve written so many times this season, all that matters is the result. We can worry about performance levels when we’re back in the Premiership.

It’s helped our cause that Dundee United have had a wee wobble over the past few weeks. Hopefully their little slump will continue a while longer and we can really turn the screw.

I’m not taking anything for granted, though – and neither should anyone at Hibs. The most important thing now is that everybody stays on their toes and we don’t become complacent. We’ve had to work hard to get into this position, and we’ll need to work hard to maintain it because there are still plenty games left for it to go wrong if we don’t apply ourselves properly.

Although we’re in a good position, I’ll only really feel we’re safe when we are about ten points clear. At the moment, anything can still happen.

Kris Commons has played a huge part in getting us clear and, if Saturday turns out to be his last game, we have to be thankful for the two match-winning goals he contributed. I’d love to keep him until the end of the season but not if it involves the club over-stretching financially. If we’ve got a genuine chance of getting a player of that quality, we’ve got to take it, but, if it’s not to be, I still feel our squad is strong enough to get the job done without him.

We have a break from the league now, and should be confident of maintaining our momentum against Bonnyrigg when we begin our Scottish Cup defence on Saturday. Although we should be looking to win fairly comfortably, we need to bear in mind that this is the biggest game of their lives, so they will raise their game to a new level. It has the potential to be a sticky afternoon, so we need to apply ourselves correctly to make sure we don’t suffer any embarrassment. The fact we’ve won the tournament at least means we can go into it with a bit less pressure on our shoulders than in previous years.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339837.1484500138!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339837.1484500138!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kris Common fires a shot at goal in the victory over Dumbarton. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kris Common fires a shot at goal in the victory over Dumbarton. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339837.1484500138!/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/kris-commons-contribution-for-hibs-has-been-priceless-1-4340159","id":"1.4340159","articleHeadline": "Kris Commons’ contribution for Hibs has been priceless","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484548200000 ,"articleLead": "

Keeping Kris Commons for the rest of the season may prove to be a bit beyond Hibs’ purse strings but there’s little doubt that in his short spell in Edinburgh he has made a priceless contribution to the club’s Championship title bid.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340158.1484500721!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kris Commons applauds the Hibs fans after being substituted late on against Dumbarton"} ,"articleBody": "

A stunning late free-kick to clinch all three points against Falkirk and now the only goal of the game at Dumbarton – goals which, arguably, are the reason why Neil Lennon’s players today sit six points clear at the top of the table.

The Celtic midfielder’s 28-day emergency loan is now at an end and although the 33-year-old has admitted staying in the Capital and playing a part in returning Hibs to the Premiership “would be a great”, it’s clear complex negotiations need to take place between the clubs. As Commons said he needs to speak to Celtic in the first instance although it’s clear he has no future under manager Brendan Rodgers. But while both he and Hibs are keen to extend his loan, finance for a player reputed to be on some £19,000 a week is an obvious obstacle.

Whether or not some sort of compromise can be reached remains to be seen, Lennon saying: “It’s something we have to discuss over the next few days but if we could do it we would.

“I’ve not really spoken to Kris, I’ve left him to it. But I think he would like to. I think he has enjoyed his football, being back out there playing again and scoring goals.

“However, there may be other suitors out there as well because of the contribution he has made since he has been here.”

Having not played since last April it’s been clear the former Scotland internationalist has been striving for full match fitness, hampered by a touch of flu which threatened to keep him out of the 3-0 demolition of United, but glimpses of his undoubted ability have shone through. The goal that sank the Bairns was one and this time round it was Commons who was in the right place to meet Darren Barr’s partial clearance and deliver a first-time shot which zipped into the bottom corner of Dumbarton goalkeeper Alan Martin’s net.

From then on in it was something of a grind for Hibs, their part-time opposition showing exactly why their patch beneath “The Rock” has become such a difficult venue for teams such as Hibs who enjoy vastly superior resources, underlined by the fact their boss Stevie Aitken could name only four substitutes while Lennon’s bench boasted the likes of John McGinn, Grant Holt, James Keatings and Andrew Shinnie among the seven sat there.

Well organised, compact and not lacking a bit of adventure, Dumbarton made it a difficult 90 minutes for Hibs, Garry Fleming’s flick catching the bar while goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw was forced to bravely dive at the feet of his former Raith Rovers team-mate Lewis Vaughan – the best player on the pitch – to prevent an equaliser.

And, for once, Christian Nade, so often Hibs’ nemesis wasn’t to have the last laugh, the former Hearts striker somehow putting the ball wide from only a couple of yards out as fellow substitute Tom Lang’s low cross found him all alone at the back post with seconds remaining.

It wasn’t pretty, in fact, it was just ugly but, as Laidlaw insisted, it’s wins such as this which help lift titles. The goalkeeper said: “The three points were the most important thing. Dumbarton have beaten Dundee United twice and Falkirk on their own ground so they are a hard team to beat. The gaffer said to us that sometimes you aren’t going to go out and play pretty football, you need to come to these places and just grind out a result which is exactly what we did. Then coming off to hear United had dropped points again gives us momentum.

“There’s still a long way to go, but it’s massive to go there and get the points. Sometimes it isn’t about the performance, it’s just about getting the points but we also kept another clean sheet which made it a good result away from home.”

Hibs never reached the heights of the performance they had produced in trouncing United eight days earlier, Lennon going with the same formation only for his wingers Chris Humphrey and Martin Boyle, who had been deployed with devastating effect against the Tannadice club, frustrated and unable to have any real impact on the game while top scorer Jason Cummings cut a sorry figure up front as he struggled to cause the Dumbarton rearguard any real problems.

But Lennon’s backline was again rock-solid, coming up with an 11th clean sheet of the season, Liam Fontaine having replaced the injured Paul Hanlon alongside Darren McGregor in the centre.

Lennon said: “Straight after the United game, my thoughts turned to this one because I knew how difficult it was going to be. They’d beaten United and Falkirk, Stevie Aitken had won manager of the month.

“It was important we got the first goal because if it had gone to Dumbarton they’d have camped in. They had a real good go at it but these are the games you have to grind out. Having said that, though, we had three or four great chances in the second half, Boyle had a couple, Chris Humphrey, John McGinn, Lewis Stevenson, so it’s not as if we were not getting chances.

“But perhaps I should have gone a bit more physical. When Holt came on we looked stronger up there. The boys at the back were outstanding, McGregor has been a mountain all season, Fonts has come in and done a good job and the goalkeeper has played really well when we needed him.

“As the season progresses, you are not going to get things all your own way and that was certainly the case.”

Standing by his contention that Hibs will win the title, Dumbarton boss Aitken admitted he was simply proud of the way in which his side had played saying: “To a man, I thought they were outstanding.

“Neil, experienced man that he is, knows how to get over the line, and he made a lot of good comments when we came off the park about the way my team had played.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340158.1484500721!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340158.1484500721!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kris Commons applauds the Hibs fans after being substituted late on against Dumbarton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kris Commons applauds the Hibs fans after being substituted late on against Dumbarton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340158.1484500721!/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/goalkeeper-otso-virtanen-leaves-hibs-for-return-to-finland-1-4340232","id":"1.4340232","articleHeadline": "Goalkeeper Otso Virtanen leaves Hibs for return to Finland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484507003000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs goalkeeper Otso Virtanen has left the club to join Finnish side KuPS Kuopio Football Club.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340231.1484507412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Otso Virtanen made just one competitive start for Hibs"} ,"articleBody": "

The 22-year-old joined the Easter Road outfit on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January last year from IFK Mariehamn. A Finland Under-21 cap, he made his Hibs debut as a substitute in last season’s William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Inverness.

Virtanen made just one competitive start, the 1-0 home defeat by Brondby in the UEFA Europa League qualifiers in July.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340231.1484507412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340231.1484507412!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Otso Virtanen made just one competitive start for Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Otso Virtanen made just one competitive start for Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340231.1484507412!/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/dumbarton-0-1-hibs-kris-commons-earns-a-hard-fought-win-1-4339712","id":"1.4339712","articleHeadline": "Dumbarton 0 - 1 Hibs: Kris Commons earns a hard-fought win","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484414492000 ,"articleLead": "

Kris Commons marked what could be his last game for Hibs with the only goal of the game as the Easter Road side battled for a win at Dumbarton which edged them six points clear of Dundee United at the top of the Championship table.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339711.1484412841!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings congratulates Kris Commons on his opening goal for Hibs against Dumbarton"} ,"articleBody": "

Commons struck after just 14 minutes but the Easter Road outfit were left hanging on as their part-time opponents threw everything at them only to be denied what would have been a well earned point.

Hibs made two changes to the side which demolished title rivals Dundee United eight days ago. Liam Fontaine replaced Paul Hanlon who has been suffering from a pelvic problem and Fraser Fyvie made a surprise return after missing the last six games with a groin problem. The former Wigan midfielder came in for Dylan McGeouch, who had picked up a knock, in midfield.

The visitors survived a couple of early scares, with Dumbarton’s Mark Docherty and Garry Fleming having shots blocked in quick succession before Neil Lennon’s side took the lead in the 14th minute.

Skipper David Gray’s cross was headed clear by David Smith but only to the edge of his own penalty area where Commons met it first time to rifle a low shot into the far corner of Alan Martin’s net.

It took a well-timed tackle from Gray to prevent the home side equalising seven minutes later when Lewis Vaughan side-stepped tackles from Fontaine and Lewis Stevenson before spotting the run of Fleming who would have been left with only Ross Laidlaw to beat had it not been for the Hibs right back’s intervention.

Dumbarton were by no means out of it. Hibs needed a second goal to give them a bit of a cushion and it almost came five minutes after the restart. Commons’ touch gave Stevenson the opportunity to test Martin but the goalkeeper dived low to his left to push the ball away. It fell for Chris Humphrey and he drilled a low shot back across goal and just wide of the far post.

Hibs, however, were contributing to their own problems with a string of loose passes and needless fouls, giving their part-time opposition great encouragement and it took a brave save from Laidlaw, diving at the feet of Vaughan after he’d waltzed his way into the penalty area to prevent his former Raith Rovers team-mate from equalising before Fleming saw a shot come off the bar.

Lennon’s players were looking increasingly desperate and the sight of their nemesis, former Hearts striker Christian Nade, stepping off the Dumbarton bench only served to heighten the anxiety of the travelling support. And a sign of how much pressure they were under came ten minutes from time when another defender, Jordon Forster, replaced Commons.

Nade had a glorious chance to salvage what would have been a highly merited point for Dumbarton in the last minute but somehow managed to knock fellow substitute Tom Lang’s cross wide from only a couple of yards out despite being all alone at the back post.

Dumbarton: Martin, Docherty, Buchanan, Carswell (Lang 86), Fleming, Thomson (Nade 69) Harvie, Barr, Smith, Stirling, Vaughan.

Substitutes not used: Brown, McCallum.

Hibs: Laidlaw, Gray, McGregor, Fontaine, Stevenson, Bartley, Fyvie, Commons (Forster 80), Boyle, Humphrey (McGinn 69), Cummings (Holt 69).

Substitutes not used: Marciano, Keatings, Shinnie, Graham

Referee: Nick Walsh

" ,"byline": {"email": "david.hardie@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339711.1484412841!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339711.1484412841!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings congratulates Kris Commons on his opening goal for Hibs against Dumbarton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings congratulates Kris Commons on his opening goal for Hibs against Dumbarton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339711.1484412841!/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-griffiths-at-the-double-in-relegation-scrap-1-4337263","id":"1.4337263","articleHeadline": "Hibee History: Griffiths at the double in relegation scrap","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484375400000 ,"articleLead": "

Leigh Griffiths grabbed a glory double as Hibs came from behind to win the relegation battle with basement outfit Dunfermline.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337262.1484153184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leigh Griffiths is held aloft by fellow striker Garry OConnor after the final whistle"} ,"articleBody": "

The victory eased Pat Fenlon’s side four points ahead of the Pars but it was a nail-biting affair in Fife as former Hearts striker Andy Kirk fired the home side ahead only for Griffiths to equalise.

Garry O’Connor stepped from the bench to put Hibs in front only for Pars substitute Liam Buchanan to equalise. But Hibs were ahead within 60 seconds, Griffiths wheeling to claim his second of the game with only seven minutes remaining to leave Dunfermline still without a win at home this season.

Hibs welcomed midfield powerhouse Isaiah Osbourne back after a five-match absence with new signing George Francomb, and Graham Stack on the bench.

But the huge Hibs support behind Mark Brown’s goal were stunned into silence in the 13th minute as Dunfermline took the lead, and again it was the Easter Road outfit’s fragility at set-pieces which was their downfall, Kirk allowed to rise unchallenged to glance Joe Cardle’s free-kick into the net.

Martin Hardie almost made it two for the Pars nine minutes later, Brown superbly finger-tipping his free-kick wide of the target.

But Hibs hauled themselves back into the match and an extended period of possession was rewarded with a 33rd minute equaliser. Osbourne charged in only to see his shot blocked, the ball falling for David Wotherspoon who nodded it back in the direction of his team-mate. Osbourne, realising he was offside left the ball alone, allowing it to run through for Griffiths who needed no second invitation as he slammed a low shot across Iain Turner and into the far corner of the net.

The pace throughout the first half had been frenetic and there was no let up after the interval although both sets of players were prone to error, not helped by the constant whistle of referee Alan Muir who seemed intent on penalising every single bit of contact no matter how slight.

The game did spark into life again in the 57th minute as Osbourne embarked on a 50-yard run culminating in a powerful shot which Turner pushed aside, the Pars goalkeeper in action again two minutes later as he comfortably took another effort from Griffiths.

Dunfermline attempted to hit back with a low shot from Cardle which Brown took at his near post. Hibs then swept to the other end of the pitch to take the lead. Booth did the spade work before turning the ball inside for Griffiths who, with his back to goal, was aware of O’Connor outside him. He played a simple pass, giving his fellow striker the opportunity to drive the ball into the roof of the net for his 12th goal of the season. The home side threw everything into a grandstand finish with Michael Hart taking a Hardie header off the line but there was no-one there as Dunfermline equalised with eight minutes remaining, Hibs fan Liam Buchanan finding space to slide the ball home.

But, sensationally, Hibs raced to the other end where Griffiths turned to drive a low shot under the body of Turner to take the lead once again with seven minute remaining.

Hibs: Brown, Hart, Stephens, Hanlon, Booth, Sproule, Wotherspoon, Osbourne, Stevenson, Doyle, Griffiths. Subs not used: Stack, Towell, S Smith, Stanton.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dunfermline 2, Hibs 3. January 14, 2012"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4337262.1484153184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337262.1484153184!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Leigh Griffiths is held aloft by fellow striker Garry OConnor after the final whistle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leigh Griffiths is held aloft by fellow striker Garry OConnor after the final whistle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4337262.1484153184!/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/dylan-mcgeouch-determined-to-avoid-a-shock-against-dumbarton-1-4339232","id":"1.4339232","articleHeadline": "Dylan McGeouch determined to avoid a shock against Dumbarton","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484375400000 ,"articleLead": "

Dylan McGeouch has warned his Hibs team-mates that Dumbarton will be out to create more headlines after beating the Easter Road side’s Championship rivals for the second time this season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339231.1484327046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dylan McGeouch sheilds the ball from Dundee United's Charlie Telfer. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The part-timers caused an upset when Mark Docherty, who had hit the winner against Dundee United in August, claimed the only goal of the game to knock the Tannadice outfit off the top of the table while the Capital club were simultaneously defeating Falkirk.

Hibs took full advantage of that shock result last Friday by demolishing Ray McKinnon’s side to open up a four-point gap at the top.

But now Neil Lennon’s side face what the manager has already conceded is a tricky fixture when they visit the Cheaper Direct Insurance Stadium, a venue at which they themselves were twice beaten last season.

McGeouch acknowledged the potential banana skin, saying: “Hibs and Dundee United are favourites to go up and every place you go teams will be looking to take your scalp.

“Teams like Dumbarton know that will create big headlines especially with us being at the top of the league. They will be looking to try and beat us, that’s human nature.

“If the team you are playing knows that you are going for a league title then they want to beat you and put a marker down.

“We’ve not had an easy game at Dumbarton in the past few seasons. They have been really tough and tight. It’s just another challenge to us and it is the next game and the most important one for us.”

However, the midfielder claimed he and his team-mates are “buzzing” after their emphatic victory over United in front of a near sell-out crowd at Easter Road, but agreed they face a mental challenge when they play before fewer than 1500 and in less hospitable surroundings today.

He said: “Being beaten by Dundee United a few weeks earlier had made us more determined to win as we knew we would open up a four-point gap which was good for us.

“Now we have to manage today’s game. Teams that win championships need to cope. It’s easier to go and play in front of 19,000 supporters at home.

“Away to Dumbarton on a cold day they will make it difficult for us and these are the sort of challenges you need to overcome.

“It’s not all in the head as adrenalin carries you through in a packed house under floodlights, but on a cold day in Dumbarton you have to give them credit as they know how they are going to play, they will set up to be compact and make life difficult.”

As things stand today will be McGeouch’s former Celtic team-mate Kris Commons’ last game for Hibs, with the 33-year-old midfielder’s 28-day emergency loan coming to an end tomorrow.

But McGeouch insisted everyone at Easter Road is anxious to see the former Scotland midfielder stay, saying: “Maybe after today a few of the boys will send him a text to convince him to stay although that’s between the two clubs.

“It’s out of our hands but we’d love to keep him, it would give us a massive lift. When you think of the level he’s played at, the goals he’s scored and all the games he’s played in, it would put a massive marker down.

“He’s still the same player I played with at Celtic, you don’t lose that.

“You can still see he’s got the quality on the ball. He’s had a few games now and you can see with every game he’s progressively getting better, fitter and sharper.

“On the pitch, he’s great to have around. His awareness on the ball and ability is beyond question.

“If we can get him to the end of the season we will see the benefits of that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339231.1484327046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339231.1484327046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dylan McGeouch sheilds the ball from Dundee United's Charlie Telfer. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dylan McGeouch sheilds the ball from Dundee United's Charlie Telfer. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339231.1484327046!/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-believes-martin-boyle-can-become-even-better-1-4338994","id":"1.4338994","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss believes Martin Boyle can become even better","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484375400000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon believes Hibs fans have yet to see the best of Martin Boyle, imploring the 23-year-old to show a bit more belief in his ability.

" ,"articleBody": "

Lennon has shown great faith in the former Montrose and Dundee player, choosing him ahead of Jason Cummings as the top scorer’s form dipped earlier in the season and being rewarded with a string of important goals.

While most think of Boyle as an out-and-out winger with blistering pace, Lennon has deployed him through the middle but played him wide left against Championship title rivals Dundee United with new signing Chris Humphrey on the opposite flank. And he was left delighted to see the pair terrorise the Arabs’ full-backs.

Lennon described his performance in the 3-0 victory which pushed Hibs four points clear at the top of the table as “brilliant”, but feels there’s plenty more to come from a player who is enjoying his best season in front of goal for the Capital club with six so far.

He said: “I know I have a very good player in Martin Boyle, he just needs to believe in himself a little bit more. I just like what he has, he is direct, fit and always a threat.

“He’s got so much to his game. He has pace and technically he is very good. His movement is good and he’s got goals in him, He’s certainly had a good season, he has made a huge contribution. He’s intelligent and his movement off the ball is very good.

“I thought he had a great game against United but even then, at times, he got into great positions and just lets that second touch go away from him.

“If he can just show that little bit more composure, he can be such a threat. He’s a good finisher once he’s in there. He’s only 23 and a very good player but I think there is more to come from him.”

While Boyle’s name has been one of the first on Lennon’s team sheet in recent weeks, the manager admitted he’s likely to make a late decision on his starting line-up against Dumbarton today to take into account conditions at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, revealing he has a few players carrying “some bumps and bruises” while striker Brian Graham has been suffering from flu this week.

He said: “Team selection may come into our thinking in terms of what the conditions are going to be like and what the pitch is going to be like. We have to factor all of these things in.”

Although Scotland midfielder John McGinn made a surprise appearance against United following ankle surgery, stepping off the bench to claim Hibs’ third goal, Lennon revealed he’ll have to think hard about what part the 22-year-old may play this afternoon.

He said: “John was a little bit sore on Monday which was understandable because he’s had surgery. He’s come back more quickly than most people would have anticipated. He trained Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll see how he is.”

McGinn’s fellow midfielder Fraser Fyvie, out for the past six matches after suffering a groin tear, has returned to training this week but Lennon cautioned: “It might be too soon for him.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/boyle-has-fingers-crossed-hibs-will-keep-kris-commons-1-4338378","id":"1.4338378","articleHeadline": "Boyle has fingers crossed Hibs will keep Kris Commons","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484289038000 ,"articleLead": "

Martin Boyle believes Kris Commons has already played his part in Hibs’ Championship title bid – but he wants the midfielder to hang around and the finish the job.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338376.1484247443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kris Commons ability to see a pass has allowed Neil Lennon to unleash Martin Boyle and Chris Humphrey as wingers"} ,"articleBody": "

The Celtic star’s 28-day emergency loan ends after tomorrow’s match against Dumbarton and, although boss Neil Lennon would like to see the 33-year-old stay until the end of the season, he conceded the length of such a deal would be “a question of finance”.

Cummings earned the club a hard-fought victory over Falkirk after they had stalled with draws against Morton and Raith Rovers, his late, stunning free-kick returning Lennon’s players to the top of the table.

And they tightened their grip on that position, opening up a four-point lead, by following up that win against the Bairns by crushing their closest rivals Dundee United 3-0.

Now, revealed Boyle, he and his team-mates are desperately hoping Hibs and Celtic can reach an agreement which would allow Commons to remain in Edinburgh.

He said: “Obviously, we are keen to see Kris stay. He’s been a great character around the dressing-room.

“He has the experience, he’s played for Scotland and in the Champions League but hasn’t even mentioned that.

“He’s down to earth, brilliant and helped the younger boys like myself and Jason Cummings. Kris had that big impact in the win against Falkirk. He is capable of finding you when you make a run, scoring a wonder goal as he did that day or finding that little bit of magic that has everyone raving.

“He’s an exciting player and hopefully the clubs can agree and he stays to the end of the season and helps us get promotion.

“Kris wants to play games and he’ll get that here. No-one has said anything, he’s just going about his business but hopefully something can get wrapped up in the next few days.”

If a question mark remains over Commons’ immediate future, Lennon’s latest signing, former Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey, has already endeared himself to the fans with a superb debut as he set up Cummings for Hibs’ first two goals against United.

As someone who isn’t short of pace himself, Boyle fully appreciates the speed of Humphrey although, so far, the pair have resisted the temptation to go head-to-head in a sprint and instead concentrate on terrorising opposition full-backs.

Lennon rolled back the years to field the two wingers against United, a tactic rarely seen nowadays, and was rewarded with what he described as the best team performance he’d seen since arriving at Easter Road last summer.

Boyle said: “Chris is lightning quick and added a bit of oomph to the team, and an excitement factor for the fans. I do remember coming on as a sub for Dundee at Dens when we were 2-0 down to Motherwell. Chris got on the ball and I was trying to track him back – but he was off.

“He has brought real excitement to the team. It was great for both of us the other night, getting loads of the ball and taking people on.

“It got the fans right behind us as we upped our game. It was brilliant and hopefully that can continue. The gaffer has said to believe in ourselves, to commit people and, with the likes of Jason up front, we know we have someone who is going to score goals.”

Boyle admitted Lennon may have to tinker with his approach tomorrow as Hibs go from playing in front of a near sell-out crowd under the lights to the less-than-welcoming environment of the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium with it’s one stand and smaller pitch.

But, he revealed, it’s something that’s been planned for on the training pitches at East Mains.

He said: “We’ve been training all week and having brought the pitch in to make it tighter we know what to expect. It’s going to be totally different and it will probably be a howling gale because of the three open sides. They’ll be in our faces, we won’t get time on the ball, a bit like Cappielow and Palmerston Park, but we have to adapt, make our own space. We might have to be patient to unlock the door or get a ‘worldy’ goal.

“But we’ll be going there with confidence high and won’t be holding anything back as we want to make that gap even bigger.”

Boyle accepted Dumbarton won’t win the title – Stevie Aitken’s side more intent on retaining their Championship status – but insisted they can have a say on it’s ultimate destination having beaten United twice on their own turf this season.

And, like the rest of his team-mates, he’s painfully aware that Hibs themselves were beaten 3-2 in Dumbarton last season.

He said: “They are a big, strong, physical team. They will make it tough but we are top of the league and won’t fear anything.

“Anyone can beat anyone in this league and that’s what makes it so tough. All we can do is keep winning.

“We’ve had two hard games recently and it will get harder but we have strength in depth. You can see how strong the squad is with the likes of John McGinn coming off and scoring as he did.

“The boys who were on the bench against United were all Premiership players and then there were others left out altogether. The manager picks the team and the team needs to produce or the boys behind grab the jersey. If that happens you can be out for a while and that’s spurring people on.”

Former Hearts striker Christian Nade has joined Dumbarton for a second spell, Boyle noting how he has “given Hibs a few nightmares” in the past but dismissing the Frenchman’s 
“5-1” gesture as he walked past the away fans having been substituted in that 3-2 defeat.

The 23-year-old said: “As players we weren’t aware of it as we were concentrating on getting back into the game. There’s been a few people doing it this season but they just need to let it go. To be honest, it’s a bit boring.

“The fans react and sometimes things like that in the game work, people get distracted. Christian seemed to deliberately go round in front of the Hibs fans.

“That’s a dangerous game, but he’s a big boy. Each to their own.

“We’ve all done something stupid but it wouldn’t surprise me if he does it again to gee up our fans.

“But we’ll be thinking only of our football and trying to extend that lead at the top and, at the moment, it is all positive.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338376.1484247443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338376.1484247443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kris Commons ability to see a pass has allowed Neil Lennon to unleash Martin Boyle and Chris Humphrey as wingers","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kris Commons ability to see a pass has allowed Neil Lennon to unleash Martin Boyle and Chris Humphrey as wingers","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338376.1484247443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338377.1484247446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338377.1484247446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Boyle leaves several Dundee United players trailing","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle leaves several Dundee United players trailing","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338377.1484247446!/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/jason-cummings-not-for-sale-hibs-boss-warns-suitors-1-4338349","id":"1.4338349","articleHeadline": "Jason Cummings not for sale, Hibs boss warns suitors","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484289033000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon has insisted top scorer Jason Cummings is not for sale with English Championship sides Queens Park Rangers and Barnsley tracking the striker.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338348.1484245281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings has taken his goals tally for the season to 12. Pic: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road club turned down a bumper £1.7 million from Peterborough United last summer to underline their determination to hang on to their prized asset as Lennon helped persuade the 21-year-old to sign a new four-year deal.

But, while admanant he knows nothing of renewed interest in Cummings, Lennon insisted: “He is not for sale. I want to keep him. He is the leading goalscorer and I want to keep him.”

Lennon admitted he wouldn’t be surprised if others weren’t also on the trail of his hitman, who has taken his tally for the season to 12 with four goals in his last four games.

He said: “I want to look after business at our end. If he keeps progressing the way he is then there is no reason why there won’t be other suitors out there as well for him.

“I don’t think there is any hurry for him to go. Is he ready to go yet, is another question. We haven’t had a bid in so we’re speaking hypothetically here. I want him here because he is a very important player and we made that clear at the start of the season.”

Lennon admitted he’d been pleased with the way in which Cummings had reacted to being dropped earlier in the season, saying: “It wasn’t by design. We just thought he probably wasn’t hitting the straps as well as he could have done.

“Sometimes with young players you get peaks and troughs. We’ve taken him out, Martin Boyle has come in and done great. Jason’s come back in and been scoring so he’s certainly responded in the right way.

“There’s been no knocking on the door, no sulking and there shouldn’t be because we treat him the right way. We’ve looked after him and he’s certainly looking after us. Sometimes sitting out and looking at it you realise what you have to do and what you’re missing out on. That wasn’t deliberate.

“We just felt he needed taken out of the team because he wasn’t playing as well or his game was just a little bit off. But he’s certainly back on the boil now.”

Having signed former Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey, Lennon revealed he’s actively looking for further new arrivals in this transfer window while he conceded he was no further forward in his bid to tie down Kris Commons until the end of the season, the Celtic midfielder’s 28-day emergency loan ending after tomorrow’s match with Dumbarton.

Admitting a longer-term deal was harder to negotiate, Lennon said: “Both for the player and Celtic as well. It’s a question of finance as well, whether we can deal with a length of time.

“I think he is enjoying it here. It’s been good for him and it’s been good for us. We are four points clear which we weren’t when he came in. He won us the game with Falkirk and he played a big part in the game against Dundee United as well.”

Meanwhile, Hibs have announced Neal Eardley has joined Northampton Town after his short-term deal at Easter Road came to an end. The 28-year-old joined Hibs at the end of September and made only two appearances for the club, both as a substitute against Dundee United as he was unable to displace skipper David Gray at right-back.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338348.1484245281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338348.1484245281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings has taken his goals tally for the season to 12. Pic: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings has taken his goals tally for the season to 12. Pic: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338348.1484245281!/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/wrong-date-printed-on-thousands-of-bonnyrigg-rose-v-hibs-tickets-1-4338045","id":"1.4338045","articleHeadline": "Wrong date printed on thousands of Bonnyrigg Rose v Hibs tickets","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484231846000 ,"articleLead": "

FANS flocking to Bonnyrigg’s Scottish Cup clash with holders Hibs should take note of the date with destiny – after thousands of tickets were issued for the wrong day.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338043.1484231790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose saw off Dumbarton in the 3rd round. Picture; Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

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The David and Goliath tie of the fourth-round has been switched to Hearts’ Tynecastle stadium as junior club Rose’s tiny New Dundas Park ground is too small for the demand.

But Hearts have printed tickets stating a 3pm kick-off on Sunday, January 22, when the game actually gets under way 24 hours earlier.

A Bonnyrigg spokesman blamed a “clerical error”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDY SHIPLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338043.1484231790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338043.1484231790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bonnyrigg Rose saw off Dumbarton in the 3rd round. Picture; Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose saw off Dumbarton in the 3rd round. Picture; Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338043.1484231790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338044.1484231796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338044.1484231796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338044.1484231796!/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/jason-cummings-proving-why-he-s-main-man-in-hibs-title-bid-1-4337299","id":"1.4337299","articleHeadline": "Jason Cummings proving why he’s main man in Hibs title bid","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484202652000 ,"articleLead": "

It is no coincidence that Hibs have rediscovered their air of authority in the Championship title race at a time when their most reliable source of goals has returned to the team.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337297.1484157501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings has scored four goals in his last four appearances. Pic: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

Jason Cummings’ double at Falkirk on the opening day of the season kicked off the Easter Road side’s latest bid for the title and he went on to score in each of their opening six league matches, laying the foundations for what was threatening to become a procession towards the Premiership.

After three autumn starts without a goal – in draws against Queen of the South, Dundee United and Raith Rovers – Cummings found himself, harshly in the view of many supporters, out of the starting line-up for the next two months. Remarkably, he saw only 69 minutes of action as a substitute between the goalless draw away to Raith on October 15 and the 4-0 home win over Dumbarton on December 10, which goes a long way to explaining a much-documented three-month goal drought between September 17 and December 17.

Since returning to prominence last month, Cummings has emphatically dispelled any doubts about his value to Hibs with four goals in as many outings. His three goals in the last two games – victories over Falkirk and Dundee United – went a long way to helping his hitherto stuttering team re-establish themselves as clear title favourites. The fact he remains the Championship’s top scorer – and has seven more league goals than Martin Boyle, Hibs’ second top scorer – despite starting only 13 of his team’s 20 matches, underlines the value of the burgeoning 21-year-old.

Former Hibs striker Derek Riordan is in no doubt that Cummings must continue to lead the attack as his old club bid to secure promotion.

“I thought it was a bit strange that Cummy was dropped,” he told the Evening News. “In my eyes, you can’t drop your top goalscorer. You need him in your team because he gets you goals. He showed that against Dundee United the other night. Even if he’s not doing much in a game, he still seems to pop up with a goal. I’m a Hibs fan and I’d have Cummy up front before any of the others. You can’t leave him out the team.”

Riordan is Hibs’ most prolific striker of the last 30 years, with 104 goals over two spells with the club. Cummings is already halfway to the 33-year-old’s tally, with 55 to his name in just three years in Hibs’ first team, albeit the majority of those goals have come in Scotland’s second tier. Despite being more than a decade apart in age, these two goal-grabbing Edinburgh boys struck up a rapport when Riordan returned to his old club to utilise training facilities at East Mains under Alan Stubbs last season.

“He’s a nice lad,” said Riordan. “He’s a lively lad, who likes a laugh. We did a lot of shooting sessions together when I was in there last season and we used to have scoring competitions with each other. He’s more of an out-and-out striker than I am. I preferred to pull out to the left, whereas he’s a bit more of a poacher. He always seems to pop up and get the goals at the right time.”

Cummings’ future has been the subject of much speculation over the past year or so and, even though he eventually signed a new four-year contract last summer, he continues to attract attention from vultures down south eager to land the hottest young striker in Scotland. Peterborough United failed with a seven-figure offer last August and, in the last few days, English Championship side QPR have been linked. Cummings, however, is fully focused on firing Hibs to the Premiership and is content to bide his time before trying his luck elsewhere. Riordan, who knows from experience how hard it can be to kick on after leaving Hibs, believes he is right to remain with the Edinburgh club for the time being.

“I think he’ll get a good move eventually as long as he stays in the team and keeps scoring,” said Riordan. “He’s only 21, so there’s no rush. I was 23 when I left [for Celtic] and, even if he waits until that age, he should still have another ten years playing at a good level. I think another year or so at Hibs would do him good. If Hibs go up this year, I think he should have a season in the Premiership and see how that goes, then maybe look to move on. That’s down to him obviously. I really hope he does well because I like him.”

Comparing Cummings with prolific predecessors like Riordan, Garry O’Connor, Steven Fletcher and Leigh Griffiths is a tricky business given that the current Hibs striker has not been playing in the top flight, but Riordan believes the former Hutchison Vale kid’s natural instinct in front of goal should be enough to allow him to prosper at a higher level.

“It’s hard to judge exactly what he’s capable of because he’s been playing in the Championship, but you can only score against what’s in front of you and he’s been doing that regularly for Hibs,” said Riordan. “He’s still been chipping in with goals against the likes of Hearts, Rangers and Dundee United, so he certainly knows where the net is. He reminds me a wee bit of Stokesy [Anthony Stokes, whom Riordan played alongside in 2009/10] because there would be times when he didn’t seem like he was in the game and then he’d pop up with a goal. You need someone like that in your team.”

Cummings declared in the aftermath of his double against United that he aimed to beat last season’s tally of 25 goals for the season. He is currently on 12, with 16 league matches to go and a favourable Scottish Cup starter against Junior side Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday week. Riordan believes the striker, boosted by his return to the starting line-up, could achieve his objective over the remainder of campaign. “When I was playing, I used to target ten before Christmas and then go for 20 by the end of the season,” said Riordan. “Cummy’s playing in the Championship so, if he can get himself a few doubles, he might have a chance of getting 25 by the end of the season. I think that period out of the team will probably have inspired him to push on and come back stronger. He was never likely to go into his shell because he’s a confident lad, and he’s been scoring since he came back in.”

Riordan, who is still looking for a way back into football since leaving York City at the end of last season, knows the potential pitfalls of being a recognisable Hibs striker in Edinburgh after getting embroiled in a few scrapes in his home city over the course of his career. Cummings found himself courting some negative off-field publicity in his early days in the first team, but has generally steered clear of trouble and is adapting well to life in the limelight.

“Edinburgh’s not the biggest of cities, so you’re going to get noticed if you’re one of the big players doing well at a club like Hibs,” said Riordan. “You’re always going to get a bit more stick than other players. Everybody’s different in terms of how they deal with it. Cummy’s alright like that. He’s grown up in Edinburgh, so he knows what it’s like. Some people probably won’t like him because of the way he comes across, but he’s actually a really nice lad.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4337297.1484157501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337297.1484157501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings has scored four goals in his last four appearances. Pic: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings has scored four goals in his last four appearances. Pic: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4337297.1484157501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4337298.1484157503!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337298.1484157503!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Derek Riordan scored 104 times for Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Riordan scored 104 times for Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4337298.1484157503!/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/riordan-hibs-must-build-attack-around-jason-cummings-1-4337373","id":"1.4337373","articleHeadline": "Riordan: Hibs must build attack around Jason Cummings","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484202600000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs must build their attack around Jason Cummings in order to have the best chance of securing the Championship title, according to former Easter Road striker Derek Riordan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4333892.1483739725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings opens the scoring for Hibs against Dundee United at Easter Road. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 21-year-old hitman has had a mixed season so far, scoring regularly whenever in the team but also enduring a two-month period from mid-October to mid-December when he wasn’t granted a start by head coach Neil Lennon.

Despite this frustrating spell on the subs’ bench, which contributed to a three-month period without a goal, Cummings is the Championship’s top scorer with 12 goals in just 13 league starts. He has struck seven more league goals than Hibs’ second-top scorer, Martin Boyle, and appears to have forced his way back into favour after starting the last two games and contributing three goals in vital victories over Falkirk and Dundee United.

Riordan insists Cummings, who has hit 55 goals in just three years in Hibs’ first team, has proved himself a reliable striker over a sustained period and has earned the right to remain in the starting line-up for the foreseeable future, starting with Saturday’s trip to Dumbarton.

“I thought it was a bit strange that Cummy was dropped,” Riordan, who hit 104 goals over two spells with Hibs, told the Evening News. “You need him in your team because he gets you goals. He showed that against Dundee United the other night. Even if he’s not doing much in a game, he still seems to pop up with a goal. I’d have Cummy up front before any of the others. You can’t leave him out the team.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4333892.1483739725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4333892.1483739725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings opens the scoring for Hibs against Dundee United at Easter Road. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings opens the scoring for Hibs against Dundee United at Easter Road. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4333892.1483739725!/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/hearts/more-friday-night-matches-announced-for-hibs-and-hearts-1-4336800","id":"1.4336800","articleHeadline": "More Friday night matches announced for Hibs and Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484148015000 ,"articleLead": "

HIBS will face Dundee United on a Friday night yet again after the latest live TV fixtures were announced.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336798.1484147954!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Dundee United will meet on a Friday for the third time this season. Pic: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The Hibees, who thumped their Ladbrokes Championship rivals 3-0 at Easter Road five days ago, will travel to Tannadice on Friday, March 10 (7.45pm) for the final meeting of the season between the two teams. The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

It will be the third time the two have met on a Friday night, the Arabs winning 1-0 on their home turf last month.

Hearts face a 12.15pm kick-off against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday, March 18 (live on BT Sport) while the Jambos’ home clash against Celtic will now go ahead on Sunday, April 2 at 12.30pm (Sky Sports).

Ian Cathro’s men have also been handed a Friday night clash at Kilmarnock on April 14, (7.45pm – live on BT Sport).

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336798.1484147954!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336798.1484147954!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs and Dundee United will meet on a Friday for the third time this season. Pic: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Dundee United will meet on a Friday for the third time this season. Pic: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336798.1484147954!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336799.1484147965!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336799.1484147965!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts will meet Aberdeen at Pittodrie in a lunchtime kick-off","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts will meet Aberdeen at Pittodrie in a lunchtime kick-off","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336799.1484147965!/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/our-region/edinburgh/leith/sir-andy-murray-always-welcome-at-easter-road-say-hibs-bosses-1-4336561","id":"1.4336561","articleHeadline": "Sir Andy Murray ‘always welcome at Easter Road’ say Hibs bosses","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484125708000 ,"articleLead": "

HIBS have opened the door to a sensational new signing after tennis legend Andy Murray revealed he fancies carving out a future career in football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336559.1484125658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie and Andy Murray with the Scottish Cup Trophy. Picture: contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The newly knighted Sir Andy admitted he had been giving some thought to his life off the court when he eventually hangs up his racket.

And the lifelong Hibs fan said: “I would like to do something in football. I watch loads of it. I am into my fantasy sports a lot.”

Easter Road bosses told the Evening News that Murray was always welcome at the club, prompting speculation they could one day offer the Wimbledon champion an avenue into the sport.

A Hibs spokesman said: “Andy still has a good few years left at the top of the tennis game so we’re not expecting his CV to land on our desks any time soon.

“However, as a lifelong Hibs fan he’ll always have a place here at Easter Road, and we’re sure he would fit in well with the team with his winning attitude, professionalism and ability to persevere.”

Murray’s grandfather Roy Erskine played for Hibs in the 1950s and both Andy and brother Jamie watch the side when they can. They recently both posed for a picture with the Scottish Cup.

Meanwhile, Murray also admitted he did not immediately accept his knighthood due to concerns that it may have an adverse impact on his career.

He was announced as the recipient of a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list, capping his best year to date in which he won Wimbledon for a second time, retained his Olympic title and topped the world rankings for the first time.

But at the age of 29, the Scot has plenty of time to add to his growing list of 
accomplishments and he briefly worried a knighthood may prove an unnecessary weight on his shoulders, after being informed by wife Kim via an 
e-mail of the honour.

Murray, who was on a training camp in Miami at the time, told a newspaper: “I got it when I woke up in the morning, just saying that I had been offered and [asking] would I like to accept.

“I spoke to a few of the people closest to me.

“I didn’t have too long, but obviously you think about something like that because I do feel like it’s obviously a big honour, but with that comes maybe a little bit more responsibility. I’m still very young, I’m still competing and obviously don’t want anything to distract me or affect my performance on the court.”

Murray accepted the knighthood after discussing the issue with Kim and mother Judy – although brother Jamie was not confided in and only found out on the night of the announcement.

He said: “I kept it fairly quiet and just spoke to the people that I was closest with and explained what the situation was. I just tried to get the best advice possible.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DIANE KING"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336559.1484125658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336559.1484125658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie and Andy Murray with the Scottish Cup Trophy. Picture: contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie and Andy Murray with the Scottish Cup Trophy. Picture: contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336559.1484125658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336560.1484125661!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336560.1484125661!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Murray juggles a football during the ATP 500 World Tour Valencia Open tennis tournament. Picture: GETTY","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Murray juggles a football during the ATP 500 World Tour Valencia Open tennis tournament. Picture: GETTY","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336560.1484125661!/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-midfield-duo-walking-suspension-tightrope-1-4336324","id":"1.4336324","articleHeadline": "Hibs midfield duo walking suspension tightrope","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484116224000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs are facing another potential midfield headache with both Marvin Bartley and Andrew Shinnie treading a suspension tightrope.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336322.1484070453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marvin Bartley was a key performer for Hibs against Dundee United"} ,"articleBody": "

Easter Road boss Neil Lennon was forced to draft in Celtic star Kris Commons on a 28-day emergency loan as injury robbed him of the services of key players John McGinn and Fraser Fyvie along with striker James Keatings.

His problems have since eased with Keatings back in action following a medial ligament problem and Scotland internationalist McGinn a surprise second-half substitute in the 3-0 demolition of Championship rivals Dundee United. But Lennon admitted afterwards that the 22-year-old is yet to regain full match fitness, revealing he had only enjoyed two 20-minute training sessions in the days before capping his late appearance against United with Hibs third’ goal.

Fyvie, who has missed the last five matches, is said to be nearing a return but, as yet, the future of Commons is unclear with his loan period coming to an end. Lennon has indicated his desire to keep the 33-year-old, who hasn’t featured for Celtic all season, in Edinburgh but, with the transfer window open there may be other options available to him if the Glasgow club are open to approaches.

Having opened up a four-point gap on United, Lennon will obviously be keen to have his entire squad available as the title race heads towards the home straight and the loss of either Bartley or Shinnie would be regarded as a blow.

Both players have now accumulated five yellow cards, midfield enforcer Bartley’s coming as he turned in man-of-the match performance against United while Shinnie, an unused substitute in that game, earned his fifth in the 1-1 draw away to Morton in mid-December.

Bartley has actually only been booked three times this season but was twice shown the red card – against Ayr United and Raith Rovers – and, although both were rescinded, they were reduced to yellow cards.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336322.1484070453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336322.1484070453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marvin Bartley was a key performer for Hibs against Dundee United","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marvin Bartley was a key performer for Hibs against Dundee United","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336322.1484070453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336323.1484070460!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336323.1484070460!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andrew Shinnie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Shinnie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336323.1484070460!/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/ex-hibee-andy-mcneil-relishing-his-chinese-adventure-1-4336364","id":"1.4336364","articleHeadline": "Ex-Hibee Andy McNeil relishing his Chinese adventure","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484116213000 ,"articleLead": "

Andy McNeil knows he faces more than a few challenges as he begins his new life this week in China – the language and an entirely different culture being the more obvious obstacles.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336362.1484077461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Guangzhou R&F are based in a city with a population of 13 million"} ,"articleBody": "

But, the former Hibs goalkeeper today revealed, there’s one skill he’s determined to master in the two years he will spend in the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou R&F – how to use chopsticks. “I’m absolutely useless with them,” confessed the 29-year-old. “I just can’t seem to use them at all.”

Becoming adept with the traditional Chinese eating utensils may ultimately prove to be no more than something to show off to his mates when he eventually returns to Edinburgh but, joking apart, it is a measure of how determined the 29-year-old is to immerse himself into life in what, despite having a population of 13 million, is China’s third largest city.

Obviously, the main focus during his two years in the Far East will be on the training ground as reserve goalkeeping coach, the Saltire against the boy from Leith’s name in the club’s list of players and staff – headed by former Croatian star Dragan Stojkovic – standing out against the predominantly native squad.

McNeil, however, insists that, as important as his primary task might be, absorbing the entire experience this surprise opportunity has given him is something to be embraced. At a time when world-famous names such as Carlos Tevez, Oscar and John Obi Mikel have grabbed contracts with eye-watering weekly salaries running well into six-figures in the super-rich Chinese league, seeing McNeil plucked from the Scottish Championship where he was playing with Morton has caused something of a stir.

But, he claimed that’s purely on the back of such figures moving to the same country, revealing with tongue firmly in cheek, that he’s only on the “basic” wage of £100,000 a week. The money is, he admitted, “decent” but, what he regards was a “life-changing” opportunity was just too good to miss even although he was as surprised as anyone to get the chance.

Although the move became public only a few days before he flew out, McNeil disclosed that it was something which had been under discussion for some time.

He said: “It arose around the time Morton were in the League Cup semi-final against Aberdeen and I was getting a bit of a run in the team. Things were going alright playing wise but a representative of Guangzhou R&F had got in touch with Chris Ewing – who runs Edusport Academy where I was doing some coaching – looking for someone to work with their goalkeepers.

“He called me and said I should listen to them. Had it been anyone but Chris I’d have thought it was a wind-up.

“It came right out of the blue, not something I was looking for but, although you are told you should play for as long as possible, I just felt it was the sort of opportunity that would never come round again. It’ll change my life. It’s a different country, a different culture working in a new league to me but it is going to be an amazing experience and one I couild not turn down.”

Having flown into south-east China – Guangzhou is only an hour by train from Hong Kong – McNeil is initially staying in the accommodation provided at the club’s training ground with a translator on hand.

However, he said: “The interpreter will be around, I’d imagine, for training but he or she isn’t going to be with me every minute of the day.

“There are accommodation facilities on site at the training ground but I’d like to think that would be short-term. Going about my daily business, I’ll have to learn the language and being able to come back to Edinburgh able to speak Cantonese would be pretty cool.

“There’s only a handful of players and coaches at the club who aren’t Chinese. I’ll be the only British person but there is one Swedish player [international midfielder Gustav Svensson] so hopefully, like the majority of people from that country, he’ll speak English.

“But I know from having been in dressing-rooms with foreign players – we had Abdessalam Benjelloun and Merouane Zemmama during my time at Hibs for example – how much the local guys appreciate someone from elsewhere at least making the effort to learn the language and to adapt to their way of life.”

McNeil admitted he left Edinburgh not knowing too much about his new club but added: “I’ve spoken to people there and it sounds like a well-run club. They have good facilities, were fairly successful in recent years but haven’t done so well as previously. Dragan Stojkovic is the new manager and, back in the day, he was a world-class player so that was part of the appeal – being involved, working with and learning from some top-class coaches.”

McNeil revealed the lack of top-level coaching opportunities for goalkeepers was another factor in his decision as he headed out for the start of pre-season training in what has become something of a much-travelled career which began as a teenager at Southampton where he could name Gareth Bale, Adam Lallana and Theo Walcott as team-mates in the Saints youth side of the time.

Since then, apart from winning the CIS Cup with Hibs, the former Leith Academy pupil has racked up appearances with seven other Scottish clubs as well as spending a year in New Zealand playing and coaching.

And, he insisted, travelling to the other side of the world held fewer worries than moving to the south coast of England as a 16-year-old.

He said: “I remember going down there with my mum and dad who stayed for a bit but then they left and you realise they are not going to be there to help you.

“You are in with other young lads you don’t know, working with men who don’t suffer fools. So, going from playing with Leith Athletic to being with guys earning tens of thousands of pounds there was a bit of a struggle with homesickness at times.

“But, obviously, I am better prepared now, older, more experienced. I’ve had more clubs than Tiger Woods, I’ve had a year in New Zealand.

“I try to push myself in different ways so I want to do my best to embrace everything about China, to get better as a coach and to develop as a person so I feel lucky football has allowed me this opportunity.”

McNeil is as grateful to Morton boss Jim Duffy for not standing in the way of his move, revealing: “He obviously wanted me to stay but also recognised it was a unique and pretty good opportunity.

“He said I should just do whatever I wanted to do. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m really excited.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336362.1484077461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336362.1484077461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Guangzhou R&F are based in a city with a population of 13 million","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Guangzhou R&F are based in a city with a population of 13 million","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336362.1484077461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336363.1484077464!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336363.1484077464!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy McNeil was Hibs' goalkeeper when they won the CIS Cup in 2007","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy McNeil was Hibs' goalkeeper when they won the CIS Cup in 2007","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336363.1484077464!/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-heroics-land-conrad-logan-prestigious-award-in-ireland-1-4336157","id":"1.4336157","articleHeadline": "Hibs heroics land Conrad Logan prestigious award in Ireland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484059339000 ,"articleLead": "

Goalkeeper Conrad Logan’s Scottish Cup heroics for Hibs have won the Irishman a prestigious award in his homeland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336156.1484059289!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conrad Logan was a Hampden hero for Hibs"} ,"articleBody": "

Drafted in by then Easter Road boss Alan Stubbs as cover after his No.1 choice Mark Oxley was suspended for the semi-final against Dundee United, Logan turned in a man-of-the-match performance on his debut at Hampden.

The 30-year-old pulled off a string of impressive saves and capped a stunning performance by stopping two United penalties in the shoot-out which followed the no-scoring draw sending Hibs into the final which ended with a historic victory over Rangers, ending a 114-year wait for the cup.

Those displays have now been recognised with Logan being honoured with the Professional Sport Achievement Award at the 2016 Donegal Sports Star Awards.

Logan, now with Rochdale, told the English League One club’s website: “It’s an honour and a privilege to win such a prestigious award – it means a lot.

“I really enjoyed my time at Hibs and I’ll always be grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity to play after returning from injury. Personally, the couple of months I spent there really couldn’t have worked out any better.

“Winning the Scottish Cup was special. It was a fantastic occasion for everyone involved, particularly the fans, and it was amazing to be part of the side that won the competition for the first time in 114 years.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336156.1484059289!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336156.1484059289!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Conrad Logan was a Hampden hero for Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conrad Logan was a Hampden hero for Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336156.1484059289!/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/david-gray-expects-hibs-boss-to-have-selection-headaches-1-4335476","id":"1.4335476","articleHeadline": "David Gray expects Hibs boss to have selection headaches","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484029813000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon confessed to agonising for hours before deciding who would be in the starting line-up for the Championship showdown with title rivals Dundee United before naming his side shortly before kick-off.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335475.1483987457!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gray beats Tope Obadeyi to the ball last Friday. Gray has warned that standards must be maintained against Dumbarton"} ,"articleBody": "

But skipper David Gray believes his gaffer will have even greater headaches in the coming weeks as, at last, his full squad becomes available. Crocked Scotland internationalist John McGinn returned after ankle surgery to cap a stunning cameo performance, adding a third goal to team-mate Jason Cummings’ first-half double to complete the demolition of United and fire the Capital club four points clear of their biggest challengers.

But, with the arrival of flying machine Chris Humphrey, the imminent return of midfielder Fraser Fyvie after a six-match absence due to a groin tear, and the hope on-loan Celtic ace Kris Commons may stay to the end of the season, Gray admits to sympathising with the predicament Lennon now finds himself in.

The right-back said: “The manager probably had a headache deciding what team he was going to play on Friday but it’s going to be like that, tough decisions because of the squad we have.

“He usually doesn’t tell us who is playing until just before the game but that’s no surprise given the luxury he has in us having a really good squad. The thing for us players is to get in the team, play well and stay in.”

Lennon admitted one of his big calls was pitching Humphrey straight into the fray, the former Motherwell wide man having not played since the beginning of October and only being released by Preston North End a few days prior to the United game.

But his gamble paid off, the 29-year-old setting the tone as Hibs made a whirlwind start by leaving United defender Paul Dixon sitting on the seat of his pants only two minutes into the game before going on to set up Cummings for his 11th and 12th goals of the season.

And Gray insisted the injection of pace Humphrey brought on the right wing, allied to the speed of Martin Boyle on the opposite flank, would have made it tough for any team facing a Hibs side in such rampant mood.

He said: “I’m just glad Chris is in my team and that I’m not playing against him. Like Martin on the other side, he has real genuine pace which is hard to play against. You could tell right away we were on the front foot.

“We had Marvin Bartley and Dylan McGeouch winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch which let us break quickly so it would have been difficult for any team to live with those two the way they were playing. For me, it was great to have someone in front I can just give the ball to and let him get on with it. He was fantastic. Long may that continue.

“I thought Chris was outstanding, he gave Dixon a real hard time, but it could have been anyone. His touch for the second goal took Dixon right out of the game but his cross was perfect too.

“Jason played well. He was a real handful for the two centre halves, who didn’t know what to do with him. And, as always, he was in the right place at the right time.”

Given what was at stake, Lennon opted for an attack-minded team, his determination to gain the win and so open up a four-point gap on United underlined by the fact that other than goalkeeper Otso Virtanen and defender Liam Fontaine, his five other substitutes were all forward-going players.

And like his decision to play Humphrey from the off, it paid dividends with a performance which manager and captain alike hailed as Hibs’ best of the season.

Gray said: “It was great. We started the game well and maybe caught them out by changing our shape a bit. We were on the front foot right away and seemed to catch them cold. The atmosphere under the lights made it a great occasion. It was a great game to play in, really enjoyable.”

Ray McKinnon’s players probably thought otherwise, but the vast majority of the near sell-out 18,786 spectators would have been in full agreement with Gray, who insisted the home support had played their part on the night.

He said: “I think there might have been a bit more pressure on us had we not beaten Falkirk the week before but the incentive was there to win and go four points clear which would be a big boost and that’s the way it was.

“When Easter Road is full like that, there’s no better place to play football. Playing in front of a crowd like that and you make a good start they then get right behind you which must make it an intimidating place for an away team to come and play and if we continue to play like that we will take a bit of beating.

“It was fantastic to see so many supporters there. They’ve been with us home and away. Hopefully, that will continue if we keep our end of the bargain and play as well.”

Although Hibs looked comfortably in charge thanks to that Cummings double, Gray admitted he was relieved to see McGinn step from the bench, take McGeouch’s short corner and slip the ball under United goalkeeper Cammy Bell to ensure there was no way back for the Tayside club.

He said: “John comes on and lifts the crowd again. He’s a big player for us, a big part of what we do. He made a difference when he came on. To play as he did and to get a goal was brilliant. You wouldn’t have known he’d been out so long but then we have Fraser not too far away from coming back which will again add to our strength in depth.

“It was great to see John score but the flip side to that was Ross Laidlaw made a great save at 2-0 just before he came on. At 2-1 it then becomes totally different. A 2-0 lead is a funny scoreline but thankfully John popped up with a great individual goal to kill it.”

Gray was also delighted to see his side take the lead for the first time in three games, Hibs having been forced to come from behind to claim draws against Morton and Raith Rovers before Commons’ late strike beat Falkirk to return the club to the top of the table as United suffered a shock defeat at part-time Dumbarton.

“We’d shown great character and belief to come back in the previous few weeks and I’m sure if we keep showing that then we’ll win more than we’ll lose. But it is important to get the first goal and to get it so early against United got Easter Road rocking right from the start. We are in a good place but now Saturday at Dumbarton becomes our biggest game of the season. We know what it’s like, a tough place to go so we take nothing for granted.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335475.1483987457!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335475.1483987457!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Gray beats Tope Obadeyi to the ball last Friday. Gray has warned that standards must be maintained against Dumbarton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gray beats Tope Obadeyi to the ball last Friday. Gray has warned that standards must be maintained against Dumbarton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335475.1483987457!/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-skipper-we-can-t-let-it-slip-at-dumbarton-1-4335513","id":"1.4335513","articleHeadline": "Hibs skipper: We can’t let it slip at Dumbarton","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484029803000 ,"articleLead": "

David Gray today urged his team-mates to start hammering home their advantage at the top of the Championship by winning in Dumbarton this weekend - at the ground where title rivals Dundee United have been beaten twice this season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335512.1483987190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gray knows teams can struggle at Dumbarton"} ,"articleBody": "

Hibs’ 3-0 victory over the Tannadice outfit last Friday opened up a four-point advantage for Neil Lennon’s players and while Gray is more than happy to be in pole position for the one automatic promotion place he is well aware of the pitfalls a visit to the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium can hold.

Neil Lennon’s players will have to cope with the fact that they’ll be coming off a high of having demolished their closest challengers in front of a raucous 18,786 crowd to play at a ground which is open on three sides and where this season’s top gate remains the 1389 who saw a Jason Cummings penalty earn Hibs all three points in September. Recalling how Hibs themselves had suffered two defeats at Dumbarton last season, the 28-year-old said: “We’ve been in this league three seasons now and we know you can’t get too far ahead of yourself because anyone can beat anyone on their day.

“Every single ground is difficult and we know what to expect at Dumbarton. It will be a tough game, conditions can play a part and, if the wind blows with that one stand they have, it can be a bit of a leveller.

“Dumbarton aren’t going to win the title, but they are taking points off teams which might have an effect. They’ve beaten United twice at home and won against Falkirk, for instance, and, when you are regarded as the bigger club, everyone wants to beat you, to take your scalp.

“We expect a tough game like always, but it is important we go there and get a positive result on the back of our win over United. We’d be taking a big step if we were to win again.”

Having said that, Gray revealed he expects more twists and turns following a topsy-turvy spell in which Hibs and United have exchanged places at the top of the table, Ray McKinnon’s players having enjoyed an unbeaten run of 12 matches to overhaul the Capital side as they dropped points to Morton and Raith Rovers before suffering back-to-back defeats by Dumbarton and Hibs.

The Hibs skipper said: “I’d rather be four points ahead than chasing but there are still so many points to play for. We could have gone six ahead had we won at Tannadice while only a couple of weeks ago people would have been saying United would be coming to Easter Road with the chance to go clear.

“It just goes to show that you can’t get too far ahead of yourself. We are in a good place and now this Saturday becomes our biggest game of the season.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335512.1483987190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335512.1483987190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Gray knows teams can struggle at Dumbarton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gray knows teams can struggle at Dumbarton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335512.1483987190!/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/sunshine-on-lennox-lennox-lewis-praises-hibs-scottish-cup-win-1-4335304","id":"1.4335304","articleHeadline": "Sunshine on Lennox: Lennox Lewis praises Hibs’ Scottish Cup win","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1483972089000 ,"articleLead": "

In a bizarre Twitter conversation, Lennox Lewis praised David Gray and Hibs’ Scottish Cup win.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335303.1483972189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lennox Lewis"} ,"articleBody": "

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The former-heavyweight champion praised the finish from Hibs skipper David Gray when answering a question from a fan who had replied to an earlier tweet.

Hibs fan, Paul Walker, tweeted Lewis asking him “Did you know in 2016 Davie Gray scored the winner for Hibs in the 2016 Scottish Cup?”

Lewis tweeted back saying: “Yes I did. That was a great header”

The astonished Paul Walker called the champ ‘a legend’ for his reply, later tweeting: “Think I might delete Twitter cos it don’t get any better”.

Lennox Lewis is a known supporter of West Ham United, his home town club, however, it is not known if he supports a Scottish team.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEPHEN MCILKENNY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335303.1483972189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335303.1483972189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lennox Lewis","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lennox Lewis","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335303.1483972189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/michael-weir-new-faces-boost-hibs-but-spoilers-like-bartley-vital-1-4334657","id":"1.4334657","articleHeadline": "Michael Weir: New faces boost Hibs but spoilers like Bartley vital","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1483943456000 ,"articleLead": "

I think it’s safe to say all Hibs supporters were growing a wee bit anxious with our form before Christmas, so hopefully the last two results against Falkirk and Dundee United can settle everybody down and give the players a bit of confidence as they look to kick on and seal the title.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4334656.1483899797!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marvin Bartley played a key role in breaking up Dundee Uniteds play. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

After a strong start to the season, we had begun to become a bit predictable but, with the addition of Chris Humphrey and Kris Commons, as well as the return to form of Jason Cummings, and the return to fitness of John McGinn, we look like we’re back in business at a vital stage in the campaign.

It was probably no coincidence that all four of those players had a part to play in our victory against United – our best performance of the season – because they all have the quality to hurt opponents. With a quick, natural winger like Humphrey added to the squad, we can now play all different formations, whether it’s the diamond, 3-5-2 or the way we played on Friday. Being able to play with two wide men gave us a different dimension, and United couldn’t cope.

In the middle, Commons gave us a good bit of spark alongside Cummings. You can see Commons is still not quite there in terms of his fitness and sharpness, but his quality has been there for all to see in the last couple of games. He has the vision to see a pass that can kill the opposition. If we can keep him until the end of the season, he’ll only get better.

It was no surprise that McGinn got such a great reception when he came on because he’s such an important player for us. Having that wee lay-off when he did could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for him because it’ll hopefully have given him a wee chance to recharge the batteries after a heavy run of fixtures since he joined Hibs. He was only on the pitch for a short time on Friday, but he looked refreshed.

For all the focus on the big names in the team, though, I thought the best player on the park was Marvin Bartley. Every team needs a player like him who can put their foot in and break the opponents’ game up. We had a lot of attack-minded players in the team, with the two forwards, the two wide men and even Dylan McGeouch, who likes to drive forward, so Bartley played a really important role in terms of steadying the ship.

It was a really strong performance all round. We had a good start, which helped, and we never looked in any danger all game. From the first kick of the ball, we were always in control. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting it to be as convincing as it was. It was really good to see, and all the Hibs supporters in the ground really enjoyed it.

In front of a crowd like that, we couldn’t have asked for a better performance. With more than 18,000 there, it was nice that we were able to get a result and a performance because that will hopefully coax many of the more casual supporters back. It would be great if we could get crowds like that every week, but the only way we’ll do that is if we finish this season strongly, win the league and then go up to the Premiership and start making our presence felt again. There’s still a long way to go yet before we achieve that. Four points is a decent lead, considering the shape we were in a few weeks ago, but it’s certainly not insurmountable. Two bad results and United could be ahead of us again, so we need to keep our foot to the floor and make sure we don’t give them any more encouragement.

This is the strongest position we’ve been in all season. It’s all well and good being strong at the start of the season, but this is the period that really matters, and, by going four points clear, we’ve given ourselves a good platform now to kick on and get the job done.

Psychologically, the players should be in a good place after the last two games, whereas it’s likely to be the opposite with Dundee United, who have lost their last two. After a tough run of fixtures over the last month or two, we now have a more favourable run of games coming up over the next month. Having picked up two great results against Falkirk and United, it’s imperative that we don’t then slip up at Dumbarton on Saturday. We know from painful experience how hard it can be to get a win through there, so there will be no excuses if we don’t approach it with the same application and intensity as we showed on Friday. We must tap into the feelgood factor that’s been generated on the back of the last two games and make sure we don’t let United off the hook again.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4334656.1483899797!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4334656.1483899797!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marvin Bartley played a key role in breaking up Dundee Uniteds play. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marvin Bartley played a key role in breaking up Dundee Uniteds play. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4334656.1483899797!/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/jason-cummings-hibs-quality-can-help-me-beat-goals-tally-1-4334667","id":"1.4334667","articleHeadline": "Jason Cummings: Hibs’ quality can help me beat goals tally","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1483943419000 ,"articleLead": "

Revitalised Jason Cummings believes his vibrant support cast at Hibs can help him eclipse last season’s scoring tally this term.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4334666.1483901464!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings scored twice for Hibs against Dundee United on Friday night. Pic: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road side’s top scorer took his tally for the campaign to 12 when he scored a double in Friday night’s 3-0 win over Championship title rivals Dundee United. The 21-year-old striker has now scored four times in his past four appearances after going a full three months without a goal between mid-September and mid-December, when he became a peripheral figure.

After rediscovering his mojo, Cummings is confident that quality service from the likes of recent recruits Kris Commons and Chris Humphrey, as well as fit-again midfielder John McGinn, can help him finish the season with a flourish as he aims to beat last term’s tally of 25 goals.

“I base my game on scoring goals, and when you have players around you that are that good and give you service like that, then it makes my job easy,” he said. “Twelve goals is a decent return because I haven’t started as many games as I would have liked. I will just keep plugging away, as every game I look to score as many as I can. I want to try and beat my record from last season.”

Cummings was supported in attack by Commons on Friday, six days after the pair had linked up for the 21-year-old’s goal in the victory at Falkirk. Cummings would love to see the 33-year-old Celtic player extend his short-term loan at Easter Road until the end of the season.

“Kris is a great player and everybody can see with his technique that he is way above the level he is playing at,” said Cummings. “He has helped me massively since he came in. It is an absolute joy to play with him as he can see things that most other players can’t. I am learning a lot from him.”

Cummings has benefited from another new signing, with Humphrey setting up both of his goals on what was an encouraging debut from the former Motherwell and Preston North End winger on Friday. “He was different class,” said the striker. “I didn’t know what he was like as a player. I knew he was fast but he surprised me how good he was. We have made an instant connection and he set me up twice for my two goals. It’s a striker’s dream to have wingers like Humphrey and [Martin] Boyle.”

Cummings was thrilled to see his close friend McGinn return to action with a goal following seven weeks on the sidelines recovering from ankle surgery. The Scotland midfielder – nicknamed Meatball – was given a rousing reception when he stepped off the bench in the 78th minute and he duly sealed an emphatic victory with a brilliant solo effort just three minutes later.

“The Meatball came on and it turned into the John McGinn show,” said Cummings. “I don’t know how he sneaked that goal past the keeper. I was honestly delighted for him as he has had a hard time of it with injury over the last few weeks. It was a fitting reward for him because he’s worked so hard.

“He is a massive player for Hibs and he gets the fans going which helps us as well. He is a key player for the team, especially for myself because me and him have built up a good bond on and off the pitch. He knows my runs so I really enjoy playing alongside him.”

Cummings hopes he has now re-established himself as a first pick under Neil Lennon after going almost two months without starting a match prior to last month’s home win over Dumbarton.

“When you are not playing a lot of thoughts go round your head,” he said. “You think ‘I need to come on here and make an impact or I am going to be benched again’ – it’s as simple as that. If you look at the strikers that are on the bench, we all feel that we should be playing, but the manager can only pick 11 players.

“There is more competition for places here and if you look at our bench there are some unbelievable players who should be playing from the start. It helps everyone and keeps us all on our toes and makes us play better. You just want to play well in every game and keep your jersey. Even when I am not playing I try not to get too down or bothered about things. My confidence is high.”

Lennon described Hibs’ performance again United as their best since he took charge last summer. Coming so soon after a dramatic late victory away to Falkirk, it was enough to take them four points clear of the Tayside team at the top of the league. After a sticky patch before Christmas, Cummings admits belief levels are soaring again, but, with 16 games still to play, he insists no-one is taking it for granted that the title is already in the bag.

“We were really good and it clicked for us against Dundee United,” he said. “Everybody was on their ‘A’ game. The keeper had a brilliant save, the back four were solid and big Marvin [Bartley] was man of the match. The boys are flying high at the minute.

“It was a good win for us on Friday but it is far from over. Dundee United are a big club and they are a good team and we don’t want to get too complacent. We will keep our feet firmly on the ground. We’ll go again against Dumbarton [on Saturday] with the same attitude and hopefully get the result and stay top of the table.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4334666.1483901464!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4334666.1483901464!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings scored twice for Hibs against Dundee United on Friday night. Pic: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings scored twice for Hibs against Dundee United on Friday night. Pic: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4334666.1483901464!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/lennon-hails-hibs-demolition-of-united-as-best-i-ve-seen-1-4333943","id":"1.4333943","articleHeadline": "Lennon hails Hibs’ demolition of United as ‘best I’ve seen’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1483770638000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon today hailed Hibs’ 3-0 demolition of Championship rivals Dundee United as the best performance he has seen from his team, describing himself as “very proud” of each and every one of his players.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4333942.1483744224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings celebrates in front of home fans after scoring the second goal. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

But the Easter Road boss confessed he was a little taken aback by the display he’d witnessed, revealing he and his assistant Garry Parker had “agonised” until barely two hours before kick-off over the team and the formation to play.

He admitted he’d taken a gamble in playing new signing Chris Humphrey but was rewarded for his decision to throw him straight into action, the winger creating the opening two goals for Jason Cummings before John McGinn marked his return to action after a lengthy lay-off following ankle surgery with a third.

Claiming the winning margin which left Hibs four points ahead of United at the top of the table could have been even more emphatic, Lennon said: “I could not have asked for any more, it was an outstanding team performance, the best I have witnessed since I came here and against a very good side that’s been very consistent for the last three months. For us to have played as well as that, dominate the game as well as that, create the chances and score the goals speaks volumes for the level of performance.”

Pointing out it was Humphrey’s first game since playing for Preston in October, Lennon said: “It was a bit of a gamble. We agonised over the team and formation right up to 4.30 or 5.30, even the subs. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully he played well, he was brilliant and set the tone.

“Sometimes you need someone to spark it and he gave us that spark but Martin Boyle on the other side was outstanding, he must have run a marathon.

“But it would be unfair to single out anyone. It was a top team performance from everyone. I was a bit surprised, I was not expecting us to play as well as that. We did lack a bit of physicality so I was worried about set plays.

“We gambled a bit with the formation and the team but there was a real hunger, a good tempo, energy. We’d put so much into the first half I was a little worried about fatigue but we found our second wind in the last 20 or 25 minutes and we could have won by more.

“We looked a threat every time we attacked, especially in the first half. But I’m delighted; they showed their big-game mentality because there was a lot of pressure on them. There was a lot of build-up although we tried to play it down as much as we could.

“It was our biggest game of the season because it was the next one, and now Dumbarton next week becomes even more important.”

Lennon admitted he’d only thrown McGinn on for the final few minutes to “shore things up” but was delighted to see the Scotland midfielder take Dylan McGeouch’s short corner before sliding the ball between the legs of United goalkeeper Cammy Bell.

He said: “John’s only trained for 20 minutes on Wednesday and Thursday. The medical team have done a great job as has John. He’s a fantastic professional and for him to score was the icing on the cake.”

Asked what this win meant in terms of the title, Lennon insisted: “All it means is we are four points clear which gives us a boost and psychologically gives the fans a lift, nothing more.

“But I think the occasion, the atmosphere under the lights, brought the best out of the players.”

Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon lamented his side’s insipid display. “The first 20 minutes killed us,” he said. “We lost two terrible goals which left us with a mountain to climb. We had far too many boys not at the races and didn’t deserve anything.”

McKinnon insisted the defeat did not represent a fatal blow to his side’s title hopes. “Four points is nothing in this league,” he said. “That’s just a couple of draws [for Hibs]. If you’d said to me at the start of the season that we’d be four points off the top at this stage I’d have bitten your hand off. That’s the way we’re looking at it – we’re going to try and give it everything to the end of the season.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4333942.1483744224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4333942.1483744224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings celebrates in front of home fans after scoring the second goal. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings celebrates in front of home fans after scoring the second goal. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4333942.1483744224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}