PAT Fenlon plans to keep his players’ feet firmly on the ground in the coming weeks, no matter how much Hibernian’s supporters are beginning to dream of Scottish Cup glory.
Although delighted by his team’s 4-2 win at Kilmarnock in yesterday’s quarter-final, the Hibs manager insisted he would ensure that the focus swiftly turned to Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
“We’re just thinking about Hearts to be honest,” Fenlon said. “That’s our next game and all we can worry about. It’s a big game for us and we need to make sure we prepare properly for that one.
“We’re in the semi-final and that’s great to tuck away and enjoy, but we’ve got to perform better than the last time we were there.
“Last year’s semi-final wasn’t a great game, but we came out on top. And it’s important when you get to semi-finals you give a performance and it doesn’t pass you by.
“But we’ll worry about that when we get there. We have a massive game next week and we have to prepare for that one. I’ll enjoy it tonight, and then think about Hearts from tomorrow.” Leigh Griffiths scored a hat-trick in the victory, but Fenlon argued it had been an impressive performance all round by his side. “I’m delighted with the performance, I thought we were very, very good.
“Leigh’s a special player: he has talent and he is very difficult to tie down. Even if you take the goals out of it, his movement and his ability to work defenders was different class.
“But I thought there were good performances all around the park. I thought Jorge [Claros] was top-class again.” More than 3,000 Hibs fans made the journey to Ayrshire, and Fenlon was equally delighted by their contribution to a rousing afternoon of cup football. “We have a tremendous support and they have a belief.
“There are not many teams who would bring that many fans through like we did.
“They’re a great credit to the football club, they’ve been fantastic with me, they’ve backed everything we’ve done. They got their rewards today and they’ll enjoy their weekend as well because we’re in the semi-finals of the cup.”
Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels accepted that Griffiths in particular had played well, but was more concerned with his own team’s glaring faults in defence. We’re disappointed to lose, really disappointed,” he said. “We’ve performed remarkably well in this last wee while, and you have to give Leigh Griffiths a lot of credit, but the basic defending of long balls was really, really poor and that was the key.
“We looked the team that was trying to play with invention and creativity, but when you can’t defend long balls like that they must have thought they’d won the Lottery.
“It was unbelievable. It was really poor.”