David Stephens says Hibs need to defend better

David Stephens
David Stephens
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Hibs stopper David Stephens has admitted the Easter Road outfit still need to tighten up at the back despite clocking up successive victories in Fife.

Both matches – against Cowdenbeath in the William Hill Scottish Cup and the “relegation six-pointer” with basement outfit Dunfermline – ended in narrow 3-2 wins for Pat Fenlon’s side.

It was the first time this season the Edinburgh club have clocked up back-to-back victories, but Stephens insisted he and his team-mates need to be much better when it comes to defending set-pieces.

Corners and free-kicks have been something of an Achilles’ heel for Hibs throughout the season, the Pars’ opener from Andy Kirk coming from an early Joe Cardle free-kick.

And Stephens insisted making it much tougher for the opposition to take advantage of such situations will go a long way to helping Hibs climb the SPL table.

The 20-year-old said: “We definitely need to be better defending set plays, we need to be switched on more, who we are picking up and doing our job properly. We need to do that right, it’s cost us and we need to tighten up.”

However, Stephens believes confidence within the Easter Road dressing-room has soared with Fenlon finally having his first wins as Hibs manager under his belt, leaving everyone looking forward to the visit of St Johnstone on Saturday.

Saints are the only side Hibs have beaten at home in the league this season and Fenlon’s players are hoping for a repeat. Stephens told Hibs TV: “Everyone is right up, a couple of wins has made all the difference, now it’s a case of continuing to build confidence.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal youngster Rhys Murphy has been added to the growing list of players said to be interesting Fenlon although the Irishman, having snapped up Eoin Doyle and George Francomb, while anxious to add further signings, has insisted he won’t comment on possible deals until they are concluded.

Three of Hibs’ forthcoming fixtures have been moved to accommodate TV, the third Edinburgh derby of the season at Tynecastle now taking place on Sunday, March 18 at noon; the away game against Inverness switched to Sunday, April 1 at noon, and the home clash with Motherwell now scheduled for Sunday, April 8 at 12.30 pm.