Hibs hero Paul Hanlon happier with clean sheet than goal
Paul Hanlon was delighted to grab Hibs' winner against Ross County on Saturday but the defender insisted today he felt happier at securing the Easter Road side's first clean sheet of the Ladbrokes Premiership season.
Hanlon claimed the only goal of the game in Dingwall to move Neil Lennon’s team above Rangers and into the top half of the table.
His first strike of the season came in just the 13th minute, the 29-year-old hammering the ball home from eight yards.
As a defender, Hanlon insisted he was “more proud” of the shut-out – Hibs’ first in seven league games – saying: “It’s been too long to get one so I’m delighted with it.
“It’s always good to add goals to your game but to get that one makes it all the better.”
Hibs might have enjoyed a more comfortable afternoon had it not been for a man-of-the-match performance from Staggies goalkeeper Scott Fox, who pulled off two terrific saves from striker Anthony Stokes, who also saw a late free-kick clip the outside of the post. But stand-in Hibs goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw also played his part, making a brilliant point-blank stop from Michael Gardyne to turn the ball on to the post before stretching to turn away substitute Alex Schalk’s shot.
Hanlon said: “I think we probably had most chances in the game but Ross had a couple of good saves. It was a great clean sheet and a brilliant three points.”
Hanlon conceded, though, the victory only shone the spotlight on the club’s three previous matches in which they drew with Dundee and St Johnstone before throwing away a two-goal lead over Motherwell.
Hanlon firmly believes he and his team-mates should have won all three of those matches, well aware of the impact the six points they feel they dropped would have had, namely lifting them into second place.
He said: “I think after the Motherwell game that was the way we were looking at it. It had been three draws in a row, but we should have won them all, definitely.
“There’s a frustration in there, but we have the three points from this one which makes it look a lot better. You can’t afford to look back too much on it, it happened. We’ve got three points and hopefully we can kick on.”
All eyes now turn to Saturday’s visit to Celtic Park and the daunting task of facing a Brendan Rodgers’ side which is rapidly closing in on a run of 60 games unbeaten in domestic competition.
Hanlon admitted as much but the 29-year-old added: “It was important to get the win ahead of that game. Obviously, it’s going to be a really tough match for us but we’ll be confident going into it and looking forward to it.”