Caley keen to keep Hibs ace Paul Heffernan quiet

Paul Hefferan has scored two in two games for Hibs. Pic: SNS
Paul Hefferan has scored two in two games for Hibs. Pic: SNS
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RICHIE FORAN is praying Inverness don’t let Paul Heffernan out of their sights this weekend as he fears the Hibs hitman will need just a single chance to punish his team.

Top-of-the-table Caley play host to the Easter Road side on Saturday in an intriguing clash in the Highlands.

Hibs have hit a decent run of form, having gone unbeaten in their last five league matches – winning three – before making it through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup with a 5-3 win over Stranraer on Tuesday.

Foran and fellow Irishman Heffernan share the same agent and the Caley skipper has revealed how his representative is always reminding him of Heffernan’s eye for goal.

“My agent is always bigging Paul up and, to be fair, you can see why he would do that,” said Foran. “He is a proven goalscorer and I thought that he was a cracking signing for Hibs.

“I couldn’t believe that he was available and it was a great way for Hibs to end the transfer window by getting him just before the last day. Bringing someone like him in will have been a big boost for the players and their supporters. In a game, you might not see him for fifteen or twenty minutes but then he’ll get one chance and turn it into a goal. That’s the sign of a great striker. He’s one of the players that we will have to look out for on Saturday because he is dangerous.

“We’ll have to keep a close eye on him and restrict the number of chances he gets because we know that he is capable of putting them away.

“We don’t want to give him the chance to punish us.”

Fenlon has introduced several Irish players to his squad since arriving at Hibs almost two years ago, bringing in not only current strike duo Heffernan and James Collins, but also the likes of Tim Clancy, former players Gary Deegan and Eoin Doyle plus previous loan signings Richie Towell, Matt Doherty and Roy O’Donovan.

But Foran, himself a Dubliner, stressed that his old Shelbourne team-mate and captain Fenlon also has a rounded knowledge of not only the Scottish game but the English market, too.

He continued: “Pat obviously knows the Irish market very well but even when we were at Shelbourne together – which was probably fifteen years or so ago – he was travelling over to watch Scottish football and he would quite often talk about it too.

“I think he has shown that he also knows the English markets as well, although obviously he has a lot of good contacts over in Ireland, as you would expect.

“Pat has already brought in some good players from over there and I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes up with another few gems because people over there have got such huge respect for him.”

Foran believes the Easter Road outfit have overcome their early-season difficulties and are now playing with a renewed self-belief.

With Caley also on form right now and also claiming their place in the last eight of the League Cup, Foran reckons Saturday’s match could bring great entertainment value.

“I’ve seen quite a bit of Hibs this season,” he said. “I take an interest because my old team-mate and captain is in charge of them.

“He certainly seems to have them back playing with a bit of confidence now. I know that they had a bit of a tough start to the season but that is just what happens when you put a new team with new players together. It always takes a bit of time but they’ve begun to gel and you can see that from the results they have got lately.

“Hibs are unbeaten in their last five league games and got the cup win over Stranraer on Tuesday night, so things are definitely looking up for them.

“They’re on a good run at the moment and they will be looking to take a good result down the road with them on Saturday, but so will we and I think that we could be in for a cracking game.”