Hibs' Simon Murray '˜still has key role despite goals drying up'

Neil LENNON has insisted Simon Murray is still playing a key role for Hibs despite the striker's goals drying up.

Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 6:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 9:45 am
Simon Murray hasn't scored for Hibs since the win over Rangers. Pic: SNS

The 25-year-old raced into double figures, scoring ten times in his first seven matches in a green-and-white shirt following his summer move from Dundee United, including wins against Partick Thistle and Rangers as the Capital side made their long-awaited return to the Premiership.

However, Murray – who is still the club’s top scorer – has now failed to score in his last five appearances, but Lennon is adamant his non-stop running is still having an impact in what has been a promising start to the season, Hibs having moved into fourth spot in the table as well as clinching their place in the semi-finals of the Betfred Cup.

The Hibs boss said: “Simon’s work-rate makes it very difficult for opposition teams. He did well up top against Ross County and led the line brilliantly.”

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And Hibs defender Paul Hanlon echoed his manager’s words after his goal clinched a narrow win over the Staggies, saying: “Simon ran the channels superbly for us, he was great at getting us up the pitch. When we were in trouble we could help the ball down the line and know Simon was going to chase it down.”

Despite having lost just one game this season, Lennon believes there’s much more to come from his side and Anthony Stokes in particular, the Republic of Ireland striker having passed up the chance to add to his tally of seven for the season in Dingwall, although he did force two outstanding saves from Staggies goalkeeper Scott Fox.

Lennon, though, was adamant Stokes had scorned one golden opportunity to give Hibs a two-goal cushion, but added: “Without having a great game he has had four pops at goal which, on another day, could have gone in.

“Stokesy is a very important player for us. You think about taking him off, then he pops up with a bit of quality, which makes the difference.”