Billy BROWN has claimed Hibs will reap the benefit from Scotland’s stunning victory over the Netherlands in the chase for a place in the finals of the European Under-21 Championships.
The caretaker boss expected Paul Hanlon and David Wotherspoon to report back to the club’s East Mains training ground today with a spring in their step having fully played their part in the 2-1 win in Nijmegen.
While defender Hanlon skippered Billy Stark’s side, midfield ace Wotherspoon claimed what proved to be the winning goal, against a country which has taken two of the last four Euro Under-21 titles and one which blew qualifying group ten wide open.
Striker Leigh Griffiths also made a late appearance as a substitute while Callum Booth took the Easter Road contingent to four in the squad which travelled across the North Sea.
A delighted Brown said today: “One scored the winner, the other captained the side to what was really an outstanding victory against a top nation away from home, a win which was thoroughly deserved.
“So if they cannot take confidence from that then they have a problem. However, I believe Hibs will benefit from this experience. Paul and David are two lads who don’t have any arrogance about them, they are both quiet, unassuming boys but they are as good as any going about.
“They have done well in general and I am sure this will help them. Each of them is closing in on 100 appearances for Hibs despite their age which is quite an achievement, who knows how many they’ll end up with.”
While Hanlon has played every minute of every game this season for both club and country, Wotherspoon has struggled somewhat to nail down a regular starting place this season, something Brown puts down to his versatility.
Against Holland he played just off Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes, scorer of the game’s opening goal with only a minute on the clock, but at club level he’s not only been deployed in that role but also right, left and centre midfield as well as right back.
Brown said: “Sometimes findig the right position can work against you, sometimes it works in your favour. We need to get him settled down in the one position and I think eventually his position will be up the park rather than right back, no doubt about that.”
Hanlon and Wotherspoon are obviously in Brown’s plans as he prepares for his first match in charge of Hibs, Saturday’s visit from Kilmarnock as are Griffiths and Booth. But he admitted he’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning before assessing the readiness of Richie Towell – who played in the Republic of Ireland’s Under-21 win over Liechtenstein – and David Stephens who was in the squad for Wales Euro qualifier against Armenia in Yerevan last night.