HIBS boss Pat Fenlon insisted today that there have been too many positives from their start to the domestic campaign to allow the shock defeat to Queen of the South to set them back.
Aside from their opening-day defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice, Hibs have made a decent start to their SPL season, drawing with city rivals Hearts and following that up with two wins, over St Johnstone and then St Mirren.
But they blotted their copybook in some style when they crashed out of the Scottish Communities League Cup on Tuesday night, going down 2-0 to Second Division Queens.
While that result was a huge disappointment, though, Fenlon insisted that he and his players have already put it to the back of their minds and are looking to the next challenge ahead – against Celtic at Parkhead tomorrow.
There would surely be no better place to bounce back from their midweek misery, but Fenlon didn’t want to dwell on the Palmerston result and was clearly unhappy with suggestions that his players would view the game in Glasgow as the ideal way in which to erase the memory of the trip to Dumfries.
He said: “I don’t think that is relevant to be honest. It is always a test when you go to a place like Celtic or Rangers. Outwith anything else that has gone on in the game, it’s always a massive test.”
Fenlon believes that there are a number of things to be taken from the way his side has performed in the early stages of the 2012/13 season and reckons that they can build on them in the weeks to come.
He continued: “I think the collectiveness, the willingness to work and the fact that we have played some decent football and defended really well at times.
“There are times in games when you are under the cosh and we have got to be able to deal with that – as I am sure we probably will be a some points on Saturday.
“We want to be resolute and hard to beat. The fact that we have brought all of these things together in our last three league games, from the Hearts game through to the St Mirren game last weekend, has helped.
“I am looking forward to going to Parkhead, I think everyone is. If you can’t look forward to going to a place like Parkhead then you’re in the wrong game.
“It will be a massive test for us. Obviously we are going there to face a really good team and an intimidating place, so it will be a big challenge for all of the players, but that’s why we are all involved in football – to play in games like this. It’s important that we go and enjoy it and put on a show for our own supporters.”
The Irishman feels that his side are unfairly criticised when they suffer a poor result like Tuesday night’s and reckons the only way to deal with that is to prove their quality and character out on the pitch over the course of the season.
He added: “I’m amazed by the extent to which, if we have a bad result, it becomes the end of the world. It happens at other clubs, yet not as much is ever made of that. We need strong characters in the dressing room to deal with criticism.”