HIBS boss Pat Fenlon reckons his side showed their SPL credentials against Inverness – and now he just wants his players to start believing in themselves again.
Goals from Paul Hanlon, Garry O’Connor and Leigh Griffiths gave them a vital victory in the Highlands yesterday afternoon but it was the second-half display which pleased Fenlon most. Having gone a goal down early in the game, the Hibs players showed great determination to battle back for all three points and Fenlon hopes his side can build on the result and performance for their remaining games of the SPL season. Admitting that Hibs have been somewhat Jekyll and Hyde in their performances, Fenlon is looking for more consistency and believes he has a squad capable of producing on a regular basis.
He said: “What this result should do is give the players the belief that we can play a lot better than we did in the first half. We have a lot to look forward to, we want to keep the club in this league and we are in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. There’s a lot for the players to grasp on to in the next few weeks. You have to have belief in yourself and not worry about people outside the club. The performance against Inverness was a bit Jekyll and Hyde so we have got to make sure we get the second-half performance more often.”
Griffiths, in particular, epitomised the never- say-die attitude that Fenlon is looking for, before netting the winner with just four minutes remaining in the Highlands and he continued: “Leigh is one of the players we have that can do that. He is capable of scoring fantastic goals, he is a great striker of the ball when he relaxes a bit more. I am delighted for him, he has taken a bit of flak but he got a great finish.”
Griffiths’ team-mates have also taken stick in recent weeks and Fenlon admitted that keeping his players’ confidence levels up throughout their fight to avoid the drop has been his hardest task: “Keeping the players upbeat has been the most difficult thing because there has been a lot of negative stuff in relation to the club and the players. It seems to be that every time we have a bad result, it is the end of the world but we have just got to keep the players focused.”
Meanwhile Hibs should find out today the extent of Ivan Sproule’s ankle injury. The Irishman took a heavy knock in the closing stages at the Caledonian Stadium yesterday and limped off with just a few minutes remaining. Fenlon was clearly concerned about the winger at the final whistle and revealed: “He is in a bad way at the moment, so we will just have to let it settle down and let the doc have a look at him. He is in a bit of pain right now.”