AS UNCERTAINTY continued last night over whether Hibernian have managed to secure Jorge Claros on loan for a further six months, the Easter Road club were linked with a move for former Dundee and Dundee United midfielder Scott Robertson, now at Blackpool.
Robertson, who has won two full caps for Scotland, has only played once for Blackpool since joining from United last summer, and reports have suggested he is on the brink of signing a two-and-half year deal with Pat Fenlon’s side.
Despite only being 27, Robertson has plenty of experience under his belt already. He made more than 100 appearances for his first club Dundee before crossing Tannadice Street in 2008, where he again racked up a century of appearances before his move to the Championship.
Robertson made his international debut under George Burley in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Argentina at Hampden in November 2008, then won a second cap under Craig Levein in the 3-0 loss away to Sweden in August 2010.
Fenlon, who takes his team up to Pittodrie this weekend to face Aberdeen in the SPL tomorrow, appears to be building for next season already, having already secured St Johnstone midfielder Liam Craig on a pre-contract agreement, but the club refused to comment yesterday on apparent confirmation from Honduras that Claros would be staying at Easter Road until this summer. Julio Gutierrez, a director with Claros’s parent club Motagua, said: “Claros stays at Hibernian, we signed a contract extension for six months.”
Striker Eoin Doyle, meanwhile, is adamant his own contract worries will not distract his attempts to fire the Easter Road side towards Europe. The eight-goal former League of Ireland frontman has been in fine form this term having taken time to settle in Scotland following his arrival 18 months ago.
The partnership he has struck with in-form colleague Leigh Griffiths has been among the many positives for Fenlon, but Doyle has still to be told if he will be offered a new contact when his current deal expires in the summer.
The 24-year-old Dubliner, though, is not panicking yet. He said: “I’m not worrying about that. All I’m doing is concentrating on my football. Everything else will look after itself in due course. It doesn’t play on my mind at all. When I played in Ireland, all I was given was one-year contracts. In fact, they were 36-week contracts, so it was tough times in the off-season.
“I’m used to this situation and it doesn’t concern me. I’ll just get on with things and wait and see how it goes.”
Doyle was lured to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League by Fenlon last January after quitting Sligo Rovers. A mere three goals in the second half of last season hinted at a player struggling to adapt to life in his new surroundings, but an increased workload and backing from his boss have had the desired effects. He said: “I’ve found my feet this year, I’d say. The manager has stuck by me and things have paid off for me. I’ve got a good partnership going with Leigh. His form has been great and he’s been a big asset for us. It’s great to have him tied down for the rest of the campaign.”
Doyle and Griffiths can expect to lead the line again against Aberdeen, hoping to protect a two-point lead over their weekend opponents. Hibs sit in fourth, inside the qualifying places for the Europa League, but the Dons are two wins from two in the contests between the sides so far this term. Doyle, however, believes that had it not been for the excellence of Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield when the sides last met in November, the scores would be level. “Aberdeen are difficult opponents and have beaten us twice this season,” he said. “The last game at Easter Road, I don’t think we deserved to lose. So I’d say we owe ourselves a performance up there. It was tough coming off having lost. We couldn’t believe it.
“We had plenty of chances to win it and their keeper was great on the day. Hopefully, we can put them away this time – or he has a bad game.”
Aberdeen defender Clark Robertson believes the Dons face a week that could define their season as they prepare for the first of two games against Hibs, with a meeting in the last 16 of the William Hill Scottish Cup next weekend to come.
With an SPL trip to Perth to face St Johnstone in between, Robertson knows they need to get off to a good start when Hibs visit Pittodrie. The left-back said: “This is a massive week for us, three games in seven days that could shape our season potentially. Hopefully we start off with a good result on Sunday.
“We need to get back to defending better and taking our chances up field, and we’ll definitely win games with the players we have got. If we were to win the next two league games and the Scottish Cup tie we would go on a fantastic run and there is no reason why we can’t finish high up the league.”