Pat FENLON today claimed the power of positive thinking lay behind Hibs’ convincing win over Kilmarnock, only their fifth SPL victory of the season.
A week which lay in tatters after a 5-0 hammering by champions-elect Celtic and another four goals lost in going down to Motherwell ended on a high as Tom Soares and Roy O’Donovan claimed their first goals for the Easter Road outfit.
The 3-1 victory eased Hibs three points clear of relegation rivals Dunfermline with a game in hand and, according to boss Fenlon, should instil “massive belief” in his players.
Having put the 4-3 defeat at Fir Park down to individual errors, Fenlon insisted he’d been happy with his team’s performance that night, a fact he accentuated to his squad as they prepared for the trip to Ayrshire and today he said: “In fairness, I thought they played really well at Motherwell but individual mistakes killed us.
“But rather than focus on that, we focused on the positives and there were a lot of them.”
The upshot of that approach was, in Fenlon’s estimation, the best 45 minutes he’d seen since succeeding Colin Calderwood in the Easter Road hotseat although he admitted to being slightly worried that Hibs’ domination produced just the one goal from Soares.
Recalling how Hibs had been in a similar position only a few days earlier at Motherwell only to concede a penalty within two minutes of the restart, Fenlon said: “I thought we could have been two or three up. You worry when you miss chances when you are in the position we are in.”
Fenlon’s concern deepened as he watched Leigh Griffiths spurn two terrific opportunities, but any anxiety vanished when O’Donovan pounced on a loose ball to hammer a spectacular shot high into the net beyond Killie goalkeeper Cammy Bell less than two minutes into the second half.
Soares added a second of his own and although former Hibs player Dean Shiels pulled one back for the home side, Fenlon’s players held firm to clinch the much-needed win, the importance of which was highlighted as news came through that Dunfermline had gone down 3-1 to St Johnstone.
The Hibs boss said: “I know people were talking about us conceding goals but that’s six we’ve scored in two games away from home which is an achievement for us. I thought from start to finish we were very good, the players stuck to what we asked them to do.”