Billy BROWN hopes Hibs’ under-21 stars can transmit the winning feeling from the international scene to club level as they prepare for the visit of Motherwell to Easter Road on Saturday.
Hibs assistant manager Brown is banking on Paul Hanlon, David Wotherspoon and Leigh Griffiths to return from the international break invigorated and with a spring in their step after the trio helped Scotland’s under-21 team defeat Luxembourg 5-1.
Hanlon, the Scotland captain, scored from a Wotherspoon assist and Griffiths made an impact from the bench as the national team romped to victory.
“Hanlon scoring is not a usual occurrence,” joked Brown. “But, all the boys have done great, so it’s a good thing for the club. It’s great for the boys to be involved in a win like that.
“If they can get that winning feeling, that helps transmit a winning feeling to Hibs.”
Brown hopes Hibs, who sealed a first home victory since February with three points against St Johnstone a fortnight ago, thinks the club’s international contingent – Callum Booth was a non-playing member of the same under-21 squad – will come back buoyed by the thrill of a call-up for their country.
“To play for your country is not something I ever did, but it’s a great honour for anybody,” said Brown. “The three lads will appreciate it, and it’s to Hibs’ benefit as well. Another victory on Saturday would be great.”
Wotherspoon, meanwhile, hopes recent experience of facing Austria can help the young Scots claim back-to-back victories following the impressive rout in Luxembourg.
Billy Stark’s youngsters host the Austrians tonight in Paisley full of confidence following Thursday’s 5-1 triumph. The emphatic win kick-started their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign after being held to a goalless draw in last month’s opener at home to Bulgaria.
Wotherspoon may be one of just a few survivors from the previous campaign – when they were again grouped with Austria – but with the same coaches, and the rest of the squad keen to make an impact, he sees no reason why the young Scots should not beat the Austrians.
The 21-year-old said: “It felt like it was going to be the same campaign again when the draw was made.
“It’s good that we’ve got them again because we know some of their players who have stayed in the squad and we know we can get good results against them.
“We are looking forward to that game.”