PAT FENLON today praised his players’ patience as they refused to panic when confronted with a Dundee side intent on playing a game of frustration, their tenacity paying off with a 3-0 win which briefly took them to the top of the SPL table.
And the Easter Road boss claimed the fact the Dens Park outfit had set out to make life difficult for his team was proof of the progress Hibs have made this season, the victory ensuring they remain unbeaten at home thus far.
The Tayside club signalled their determination to give nothing away by adopting a 4-5-1 formation with former Hibs star Colin Nish operating as a lone striker, Fenlon countering that tactic by ensuring his players switched play wide to David Wotherspoon and Paul Cairney as he recognised space would be at a premium inside.
Dundee’s ploy worked for almost half an hour, with their midfielder Jim McAlister actually going closest to scoring with a low shot which Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams did well to touch round the post, before a superb piece of play from Cairney saw him wriggle his way to the byline before delivering an inch-perfect cross for hitman Eoin Doyle to make it three goals in as many games.
Fenlon said: “People were probably getting a bit frustrated in the first 20 or 25 minutes as they made it difficult for us. “The first goal is important when a team comes and defends but I suppose that’s a sign of the progress we are making.
“We had to be patient, to keep moving the ball. If you do that early on in the game eventually fatigue will creep in to them.”
Fenlon reinforced that message at half-time when Doyle’s goal was all that separated the teams before Leigh Griffiths claimed his sixth goal of the season from the spot with Wotherspoon completing what ultimately was a comfortable win with a third goal.