PAT FENLON today warned his Easter Road stars not to take basement outfit Dundee lightly as Hibs seek to get back on the winning trail after seeing their six-match SPL run come to an end.
Although the Dens Park side have won just one league game this season – Ryan Conroy’s penalty earning them that victory at Tynecastle – Fenlon insisted tomorrow’s visitors will prove just as tough to crack as any other side.
And he admitted to a certain degree of sympathy for the Dark Blues and their manager Barry Smith after they were catapulted into the top flight following the expulsion of Rangers, having spent the summer preparing for another season in the First Division.
However, Fenlon reckons Smith’s players will soon find their feet, helped by a string of experienced players brought in ahead of the transfer window deadline.
As Hibs prepared to face Dundee for the first time in seven years, Fenlon said: “I think they have done really well. Obviously they were building a squad for another league and all of a sudden they were elevated to the top league, and from the players’ point-of-view they’ve had to get their heads round it.
“In the last few weeks they have brought in some experienced players which will be a huge help for them and I think they will get better as the season goes on. It takes time for people to bed in and some have not been here that long but I still put Dundee in the same category as everyone else, that there’s not a great difference between them and the rest of us.”
Although Hibs have enjoyed a promising start to the season despite passing up successive chances to go top of the table, Fenlon insisted there’s no room for even the hint of complacency. He said: “I don’t think we can get into that mindset.
“Where we have been over the last couple of seasons we know teams that end up at the bottom of the table like ourselves last year want to scrap and fight for everything and even this early in the season you have to make sure you pick up something. That’s why your home form has to be really good this year. With the league being so tight you have to make sure you are picking up points at home.”
So far Hibs remain unbeaten at Easter Road with those wins over St Johnstone and Kilmarnock meaning they have already matched last season’s tally of victories on home turf, a record Fenlon is keen to maintain as he bids to turn the ground into one which opposition teams fear.
He said: “We’ve been okay at Easter Road. We spoke about it at the end of last season and said we need to make sure this is not a nice place to come. In the recent past it has been too easy for other teams while previous to that it was a hard place to come. We have to get back to that and we’re slowly getting there.”