Clayton Donaldson believes Hibs can be confident of finally gaining promotion this season after watching Neil Lennon’s second string enjoy a narrow but comfortable win over Birmingham City.
The former Hibs striker made his first return to Easter Road in nine years as the Brummies headed north, only to find Lennon had opted to rest most of his first-choice players following their Europa League match against Brondby in Copenhagen three days earlier.
A stunning James Keatings goal was enough to earn Hibs victory, although they may have added to it with a performance which delighted Lennon. But if a few of his Birmingham team-mates were perhaps caught by surprise, Donaldson insisted his old club’s display was exactly what he expected.
The 32-year-old said: “Hibs always like to get the ball down and pass it, they are a footballing side, so I wasn’t surprised about that. They played well. Although we didn’t perform as well as we would have liked, it was a good test for us.
“Hibs played well, I know there were a few players we might not have expected in the team but they did well and they’ll have given their manager something to think about. If they carry on performing like that, they’ll get themselves up.”
Although he only spent one season in Edinburgh – falling out of favour under Mixu Paatelainen after being brought to Hibs by the big Finn’s predecessor John Collins – Donaldson admitted that other than his side’s “sloppy display”, he’d enjoyed returning to the Capital.
Revealing he’d bumped into former Hibs team-mates Martin Canning and Guillaume Beuzelin, now with Hamilton, while at Birmingham’s summer training camp in Marbella, Donaldson said he’d been delighted to hear that both Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson remained at Easter Road, although only the former made a brief second half appearance at the weekend.
He said: “Paul and Lewis were the young ones when I was here but it’s good to see they are still here and doing well.”