Hibs striker James Keatings will do his talking on the pitch

James Keatings scored against Dundee United. Picture: Greg Macvean
James Keatings scored against Dundee United. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Hibs striker James Keatings insists he’ll stake his claim for a starting place on the pitch rather than go knocking on manager Neil Lennon’s door.

After starting the Easter Road club’s first four domestic matches Keatings was forced to take a seat on the bench for more than a month before getting the call from Lennon to return for the visit of Dundee United.

The 24-year-old, who’s goal tally has reached double figures in each of the last three seasons, immediately reminded Lennon of what he was about, crashing an early free-kick off the woodwork before putting the Hibees ahead with his first goal of the season, a clinical finish beyond the reach of United goalkeeper Cammy Bell.

However, Hibs were again unable to hold on to that half-time lead despite being in control of the game, Tannadice defender William Edjenguele rising to power home a header to claim a draw leaving Lennon’s players, firm favourites for the Championship title, with only two points from a possible nine.

Keatings though, hopes he’s done enough to convince Lennon to put him in again in tomorrow’s Irn-Bru Cup clash with St Mirren with top scorer Jason Cummings, Grant Holt, Brian Graham and Martin Boyle all battling for a place up front.

Admitting it had been a frustrating time for him, Keatings said: “It was good to get off the mark. It had been a few weeks since I’d played and even then I was playing in a different


“So to get a start up front and score was great for me but the disappointing thing was it didn’t lead to three points.”

As disappointed as he was at finding himself among the substitutes the former Celtic, Hamailton and Hearts player revealed he’d never go demanding an explanation from his manager.

“I don’t do that,” he insisted. “The gaffer picks the team and all I can do is work hard in training in front of him and when he gives me my chance to give it my all and hope I do enough to stay in the team.

“He has a vast amount of players, every range of player so it’s difficult when the boys are playing well every week. He can only pick two up front so as players we know that’s a tough job for him.”

Hibs will be without John McGinn for tomorrow’s match, the midfielder part of the Scotland squad preparing for the World Cup qualifying match against Lithuania later in the day and, Keatings warned, that paves the way for someone to try to rob him of his place in the team for their next Championship match away to Raith


He said: “With John being away someone who has been waiting their chance will get the opportunity to play. That’s the way the game goes. If they come in and play well they’ll have a chance to stay in the team and make it hard for him to get back in straight away.”