DCSIMG

Hibs boss believes goals will come

HIBS boss Mixu Paatelainen today backed his misfiring strikers to get back among the goals after watching them fail to score for the second match in succession.

The Easter Road outfit have managed just five goals in their last eight games – two of them from the head of skipper Rob Jones– and have now fired blanks against the SPL's bottom clubs Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Falkirk on successive Saturdays.

Although Derek Riordan, Steven Fletcher and Colin Nish have netted 21 goals between them this season, only Riordan has been on the mark recently, becoming leading scorer by taking his tally to nine.

Fletcher, however, hasn't found the target since scoring in the 4-1 win over Motherwell on November 22, Nish last scored in claiming Hibs' second in the 2-0 victory against Celtic on December 7 while Finnish internationalist Jonatan Johansson has yet to claim a goal in a green-and-white shirt.

But today Paatelainen, while admitting he's been bitterly disappointed at how little work his side gave Caley goalkeeper Ryan Esson and then Bairns' Danni Mallo, predicted it won't be long until his strike-force, reckoned by many to be the best outwith the Old Firm, are back on song.

Insisting he wasn't concerned at the recent lack of goals, Paatelainen believes opposition sides should, instead, be given credit for the way they've snuffed Hibs out.

He said: "We will score goals, there's no doubt about that. At the moment, unfortunately, we are just going through a spell where

we aren't scoring as many as we would like.

"Other teams know we have players who can score goals so they defend in numbers against us and that's why we have ended up with quite a few draws recently. Draws are better than a defeat but that's not what we need at the moment.

"We need the three points but when teams defend as they are against us it can be difficult.

"It was never going to be easy against Falkirk, they are a decent side with experienced players who know what they are doing and are well organised at the back.

"Even so, in the first half we could, and probably should, have scored and I was disappointed we didn't given the personnel we fielded. I felt there was plenty of goals in the team but on another day we'll get two or three."

He admitted the loss of Guillaume Beuzelin had affected the service to his strikers.

Paatelainen was today hoping defender Chris Hogg, who felt his groin tighten during the second half on Saturday but managed to finish the game, will recover in time for Wednesday night's away match against Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Paatelainen today revealed Hungarian goalkeeper David Grof has left Easter Road. The 19-year-old made just one first team appearance, as a substitute in the 4-3 Cooperative Insurance Cup defeat by Morton and had 18 months of his contract to run. Grof, who was convicted of drinking and driving in December, spent a week in January on trial at West Brom, the Baggies boss Tony Mowbray having signed him when he was Hibs manager.

 
 
 

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