Paul Cairney told to fight for Hibs starting spot

Paul Cairney has been told to fight for a starting slot in Hibs. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Paul Cairney has been told to fight for a starting slot in Hibs. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Hibs boss Pat Fenlon has warned Paul Cairney he’ll have to fight for his place after missing the Easter Road outfit’s last three matches.

The 25-year-old made an immediate impact as Hibs made an impressive start to the season following his summer arrival from First Division Partick Thistle, helping secure a 2-2 draw with Celtic with his first goal for the Capital club and was seen as a key member of Fenlon’s side.

However, Cairney’s last match was the 2-2 draw at home to Kilmarnock at the end of last month, a game in which he was replaced for the last 18 minutes by 18-year-old Alex Harris.

Since then, Cairney has failed to even strip for a game with new arrival Matt Done 
taking over on the left flank and Harris preferred as back-up to the on-loan Barnsley winger.

Asked where he saw Cairney fitting into his plans at present, Fenlon said: “When I can see him fitting in, to be honest. Like everyone else, Paul has to earn the right to play in the team, that goes for everyone not just him.

“I feel he has tapered off a 
little bit, but he still has a lot to offer. We have a lot of big games coming up. Paul has been part of the squad but I have left him out over the last few weeks and hopefully that will refocus him a little bit as well.”

Meanwhile, Fenlon has his fingers crossed that both Jorge Claros and Ryan McGivern will return to Easter Road unscathed ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with Inverness Caley following tonight’s international action.

Claros is in Panama as 
Honduras bid to build on an impressive start to the final stage of their World Cup qualifying campaign, while McGivern is in Northern Ireland’s squad for their qualifier against Israel in Belfast.