Hibs boss quick off mark in prep for Rangers

Pat Fenlon
Pat Fenlon
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Hibs boss Pat Fenlon has revealed how he began preparing for the visit of SPL leaders Rangers on Saturday only hours after an electrical blaze forced his side’s clash with Motherwell to be abandoned.

Fenlon had his squad in at the club’s East Mains training centre on Saturday morning following the disappointment of the previous night’s game at Fir Park being called off at half-time with Hibs leading through a strike from Garry O’Connor.

But Fenlon immediately began planning for this weekend and although his players had already been told to report for a work-out the next morning, they came in for a tougher session than they’d been anticipating.

While “bitterly disappointed” with the events of Friday night, Fenlon was happy with the 45 minutes he had seen from his players, but insisted that had to be put aside and full focus paid to this weekend’s lunchtime kick-off.

He said: “We’ve got a full week ahead of us, we’re looking forward to Rangers and we’ll have the team prepared as well as we can.”

As frustrated as Fenlon, his players and the 1460 Hibs fans who had made the journey to Lanarkshire were, the Irishman claimed no-one would have been more unhappy than striker O’Connor who had to face the fact his first goal in nine matches would now be chalked off.

O’Connor struck after 15 minutes, turning to lash an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net after Leigh Griffith’s effort had come back off the post for what would have been his 11th goal of the season.

Fenlon said: “Garry was brilliant for us. We had him up there on his own, a difficult position to play, but he bought into it and caused their centre-halves all sorts of problems.

“It was a fantastic finish, he reacted quickly. I was delighted for him coming as he did out of his sick bed but I am sure he will be disappointed the goal will be chalked off. It won’t stand and he won’t be happy.”

Meanwhile, teenage striker Danny Handling has signed a new three-year deal with Hibs. And the 17-year-old immediately celebrated with a goal as the Easter Road club’s Under-19 side stretched their unbeaten run to eight games with a 3-0 victory over Inverness Caley, their other strikes coming from Dean Horribine and Alex Harris.

Elsewhere, Lewis Horner has extended his loan deal with Third Division East Stirling until the middle of January.