PAT FENLON today hailed Sean O’Hanlon as “different class” after he came in from the cold to score the goal which virtually secures Hibs’ place in the SPL.
O’Hanlon had found himself frozen out as James McPake and Paul Hanlon forged a partnership in central defence, but was recalled to action in the crunch clash against Aberdeen after the on-loan Coventry City stopper was ruled out through injury.
It was O’Hanlon’s first match in almost three months, but after an own goal by Dons player Mark Reynolds put Hibs ahead, the former Everton, Swindon and MK Dons star glanced home a header to double their lead after just 16 minutes.
And his goal proved to be the winner as Hibs survived an onslaught by Craig Brown’s side after Scott Vernon cut the deficit early in the second half.
The win fired Hibs five points ahead of relegation rivals Dunfermline with only two games remaining, the Capital club needing only to avoid defeat when the Pars come to Easter Road on Monday to retain their top-flight status.
A delighted Fenlon said: “In fairness to Sean, that was hard to do because he has not played for a long time. He was different class and a lesson to some of the young players.
“He trains every day at the right tempo, although he has not been in the team. He has not moaned. He has come in to see me, but he has not moaned about it.
“He has just got on with it, his training has been excellent, in bounce games he has been committed and done all we have asked of him.”
Fenlon may have a headache ahead of Monday’s showdown with McPake expected to