ALAN Maybury’s hopes of winning a contract at Easter Road have brightened considerably after the former Hearts defender made a late dash to join Pat Fenlon’s squad for the beginning of their mini-European tour.
Although Maybury had previously pulled on a green and white shirt in Hibs’ first pre-season friendly against East Fife at the weekend, Fenlon appeared to have shut the door on the possibility of a deal, citing financial considerations. Maybury, who turns 34 next month, wasn’t in the initial party which travelled to a base in the seaside town of Vlissingen in south-east Holland on Tuesday, but reported in late that night as Hibs midfielder Isaiah Osbourne talked to Blackpool about a surprise switch to the English Championship.
It would appear the Birmingham-born midfielder’s imminent move has freed up sufficient funds to allow Fenlon, who has the recruitment of an experienced striker at the top of his wish list, to cast a further eye over Maybury, who started last night’s match on the bench.
The former Leeds United, Leicester City and St Johnstone man had to wait until the 58th minute to step off it, having stood patiently on the sidelines as he tried to catch the eye of referee Jan Janssens.
As he did, an alarming gap opened up in Hibs defence, for Lierse striker Kostadin Halurov to steady himself before picking his spot low beyond goalkeeper Ben Williams. Halurov’s strike was a merited equaliser for a Belgian side which had upped the pace after the interval, having fallen behind to a delicious goal from 18-year-old Ross Caldwell who had been charged with leading the Hibs attack throughout the opening period.
He has been a prolific scorer at Under-19 level for Hibs but this was his first start for Fenlon’s side and he led the line admirably, with his physique and willingness to play with his back to goal causing the Belgian defence problems. He got his reward after 35 minutes. Either team-mate David Wotherspoon or Lierse’s Joeri Dequevy seemed certain to reach James McPake’s through ball, but neither did leaving Caldwell to deliver the deftest of touches as he lofted the ball over bemused Lierse goalkeeper Matz Sels.
It was a finish worthy of winning any game. That it proved otherwise will matter little to Caldwell, who will no doubt be hoping he’s given Fenlon something to chew over as he continues his chase for a new frontman.
Hibernian: Williams, Clancy, McPake (Maybury 58), Stephens (Kujabi 46), Hanlon, Sproule (Booth 64), Claros (Doyle 46), Stevenson, Cairney (Stanton), Wotherspoon, Caldwell (Handling 82). Substitutes not used: Antell, O’Hanlon.