PAT FENLON has urged his midfielders to follow Gary Deegan’s lead in having a go for goal after his stunning strike fired Hibs into the last eight of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
While all eyes were on top scorer Leigh Griffiths as the Easter Road side squared up to Aberdeen, it was Irish ace Deegan who stole the show with his first goal in a green-and-white shirt, a screamer from 35 yards.
Now the Hibs boss believes others should get in on the act to help take the heat off Griffiths and his fellow frontman Eoin Doyle, who have been responsible for 23 of their side’s 34 goals in all competitions this season.
Otherwise Hibs have found goals hard to come by, David Wotherspoon chipping in with three in a five-match spell and Paul Cairney two, with no-one else contributing more than one.
Fenlon, however, insists plenty more could come if his players were more willing to have a dig from the middle of the park as Deegan did against the Dons. He said: “Jorge Claros can strike the ball as well, but he does not do it enough when he gets into advanced areas.
“We have been encouraging them once they get into those areas to take a first touch, try to advance and commit people.”
Deegan’s goal was only Hibs’ third in their last seven matches although, thanks to goalkeeper Ben Williams saving two penalties in successive games against the Dons, they have only conceded three as well, a major factor in them remaining fourth in the SPL table and having a Scottish Cup quarter-final at Kilmarnock to look forward
to at the beginning of next month.
Fenlon, though, is well aware of some grumbles at the way Hibs are grinding out results rather than playing free-
flowing football, but he insisted patience was required as he continues to rebuild his squad, with Scott Robertson and Matt Done the latest new recruits and Liam Craig due to join from St Johnstone in the summer.
He said: “We conceded too many goals last season and I know people are saying we need to be more adventurous. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’ve got to build a squad right from scratch, and that’s what we are trying to do.”
Meanwhile, Sam Stanton and Harry Monaghan have had their loan deals at Cowdenbeath and Annan Athletic extended
until the end of the season.
• Heavy snow in the west of Scotland has forced the postponement of tonight’s Under-20 match between Hibs and St Mirren in Paisley.