Pat Fenlon says Hibs have strength for relegation fight

Pa Kujabi of Hibs and Joshua Magennis of Aberdeen
Pa Kujabi of Hibs and Joshua Magennis of Aberdeen
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PAT FENLON believes Hibs now have the strength in depth to help win their battle against relegation.

Although disappointed only to have drawn against Aberdeen, Fenlon insisted it was a match the Easter Road side could easily have lost previously given they’d gone into the game missing five key players.

Defenders James McPake and Paul Hanlon sat out the SPL clash through suspension along with striker Leigh Griffiths while midfielder Tom Soares was missing through injury as was club skipper Ian Murray as he continues to recover from surgery.

But despite their absence Fenlon, who made eight signings over the course of the January transfer window, felt he was still able to field a strong team backed up by an impressive looking bench.

McPake, Hanlon and Griffiths will all be available for the visit of title favourites Celtic on Sunday, which, Fenlon admitted, will give him a pleasant headache despite the fact Soares is likely to still be missing with a hamstring problem, while Murray is definitely out.

The Hibs boss said: “We had players out but still have a strong team and bench. Previously had we lost that many players we’d have struggled, but against Aberdeen we did not.

“I’m actually a bit disappointed we did not pick up the three points, I thought we did enough to win the game but there was a lot which pleased me as well, some good individual performances, again we looked solid defensively and it was another clean sheet.”

Hibs had their chances to win, Dons goalkeeper Jason Brown pulling off superb saves from David Wotherspoon and Isaiah Osbourne, but, again, Fenlon wasn’t too disheartened. He said: “We’ve been creating chances and scored a fair number of goals but sometimes you get a match where they don’t go in for you.

“Perhaps when that has happened previously we have lost the game so it’s a good sign.”

The draw put Hibs a point ahead of basement outfit Dunfermline with a superior goal difference after the Pars were beaten 4-1 by Rangers but while he admitted his side have to be aware of what is happening behind them, Fenlon has his fingers crossed that others can be dragged into what currently is a two-horse race against the drop.

He said: “We have to keep an eye over our shoulder at Dunfermline who are very close, but we also have to look ahead to see if there’s one or two we can rope back in and make it a bit more of a fight.”