DCSIMG

Clay just desperate to hear Hibees roar

CLAYTON DONALDSON revealed today he's more desperate than ever to make his Easter Road debut after being blown away by the Hibs supporters during Sunday's epic victory over Celtic.

The stadium was a cauldron of noise throughout the stunning 3-2 win over Gordon Strachan's side but a frustrated Donaldson was forced to miss out because of suspension and instead kicked every ball from his vantage point in the stand.

The big striker has yet to take his bow at Hibs' home ground but, with Steven Fletcher ruled out by a shin injury, is in line to be handed a starting berth against Motherwell in the CIS Cup this evening.

The frontman has started three games for John Collins' side this season - all away from home - and the noise generated by the elated Hibees crowd has simply whetted his appetite to finally run out in front of the club's passionate supporters.

The former York City and Hull striker has played just 140 minutes of first-team football since making the move north in the summer but he's hoping he'll be given a chance to make an impression against Mark McGhee's men tonight.

He said: "I haven't started a game at Easter Road yet so I'm really looking forward to getting the chance to do that and hopefully it will be tonight. The three games that I have started have all been away from home so I'm looking forward to getting out there and experiencing the atmosphere for myself.

"It was absolutely fantastic against Celtic on Sunday, the fans were brilliant.

"The game was all over the place at 1-0, 1-1 and then when we went ahead again and then got the winner, the crowd was bouncing. It was just crazy and I can't wait to play in front of that kind of crowd. Hopefully I will get my chance soon.

"I think this is the biggest season of my career and coming to Hibs is an achievement in itself. I am just looking forward to it, I am still fairly young so I am just thriving on the competition and the opportunity that I have in front of me."

The striker was banned for the visit of the Parkhead side after picking up two yellow cards against the Bairns ten days ago, the first for over-celebrating his first goal for the club and the second a harsh decision from referee Willie Collum after a perfectly legitimate challenge on Falkirk's Steven Thomson.

Having witnessed Celtic keeper Artur Boruc's antics after their first equalising goal at Easter Road on Sunday, the striker could be forgiven for feeling hard done by but, with the ban now behind him, he's simply looking forward to trying to win a regular start in Collins' line-up.

If he is given the nod to face the Steelmen, the striker is determined to grab it with both hands and added: "Obviously it is difficult when you come to a new club and I have to admit that it has taken me a little bit longer than I thought I would do.

"But things are going well now, I am improving as every day goes by and I have also got my first goal under my belt as well. That first goal is always the hardest to get for a striker and the quicker you can get it, the better. I think there is a lot more to come from me and I'm happy with the way that things are going.

"It is always a big thing for a striker because the longer you go without a goal, the more pressure you feel under to get off the mark. I've got that behind me now and I can just look forward to hopefully doing well and playing games. Fletch has done really well for the club and for Scotland Under-21s and it's a pity to see him injured, he will be a big loss for us. But hopefully I can come into the side and do just as good a job and carry on from where he has left off."

The win over Celtic means Hibs remain the only unbeaten side in the SPL this season and Donaldson knows that other teams are now keeping tabs on events at Easter Road. That can only serve to make life more difficult for Collins' side as opposition teams look to be the first to bring that run to an end. He continued: "We're still unbeaten, the only team in the league to be unbeaten so far and that's a great achievement.

"It might be tougher for us now because the results that we have had will probably make other teams sit up and take notice and will want to beat us even more.

"Everyone will want to be the first team to beat us but we want to make sure that doesn't happen for a long time yet. We've got that weight of expectation to carry on our back now but it will be a good challenge for us and that's the type of position that we want to be in.

"I think that there are so many difficult games in the SPL these days and a lot of potential banana skins as well that you have got to be mentally prepared and I think that if you go into any game thinking that it's going to be easy or that it's going to be too tough then you are going to be beaten.

"If the right mentality is there and you have a belief running through the side then you can go out and beat any team."

Donaldson has seen for himself the confidence which is coursing through the squad right now and revealed that it grows further with each undefeated game that goes by. "Confidence is a huge part of winning games," he acknowledged. "If the playing staff and the coaching staff don't have confidence then there's not much point in stepping out onto the pitch because you will lose.

"Winning games - and not losing them either - like we have been doing over the past few weeks breeds confidence, increases your belief.

"After Sunday's result, our confidence is sky-high now." Hibs host their Lanarkshire opponents tonight hoping for a repeat of their form from last season which saw them go on to lift the CIS Cup - their first major piece of silverware in 16 years.

Donaldson himself has yet to win his first senior cup competition and as far as he is concerned, there's no better time to rectify that situation: "It'll be a difficult game, they've been playing good football, been on a decent run and they're not that far behind us in the league. But we are the holders and we want to make sure that we retain it. That maybe puts a little bit of pressure on our shoulders but we wouldn't want it any other way.

"We can handle it and all of the lads are confident that we can carry on from the good run we had last season.

"I have got two promotion medals from Hull, we went up two seasons in a row, from League Two, into League One and then the Championship.

"I've got those medals and that experience under my belt now, I didn't play that many games, but hopefully it will stand me in good stead for the challenges ahead of me this season. I have never won a cup but hopefully I can rectify that this season."

 
 
 

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