East Fife 0-2 Hibernian: Ivan Sproule seeks to fill scoring gap
IVAN SPROULE, the Hibernian winger, is determined to exorcise the ghosts of a miserable campaign last term by helping to fill the goalscoring void left by Garry O’Connor and Leigh Griffiths.
Scorers: Hibernian - Sproule (52), Clancy (79)
The 31-year-old netted a fine opener on Saturday afternoon as Pat Fenlon’s charges began their pre-season campaign with a routine 2-0 victory over East Fife at Bayview.
Tim Clancy also found the net with a super curling free-kick with ten minutes left to play.
While no-one at Hibs would be preposterous enough to become giddy over a friendly triumph over an Irn-Bru Second Division outfit, Sproule is hopeful his strike in Methil is indicative of happier times to come.
Frankly it is pivotal that the former Bristol City man, along with several other profligate cohorts from last season, succeed in finding their scoring touch, as the departed partnership of Griffiths and O’Connor accounted for 27 of the club’s 40 goals.
“It was a difficult season for myself last year,” the one-time Northern Ireland international rued. “To only finish with four goals last year was really disappointing. It was a tally that was well down on previous seasons, and hopefully I can get back among the goals this season. Whether I was a youngster, or getting on in my career, I’ve always been able to hit the net, so I’m looking to get back to that.
“Eoin [Doyle] is a hard working guy a great finisher, and has proved himself in the League of Ireland, but we can’t be putting all the pressure on him or anyone else this season. If I can do that, with a few others chipping in, then I think we could be in for a good season.”
With Doyle the only experienced striker left at Easter Road, Danny Handling and Ross Caldwell, both 18, have found themselves on the cusp of an SPL campaign during which they are likely to feature heavily.
Handling prompted comparisons with former prodigious Hibs teenager Kenny Miller during a seven-game cameo on loan with Berwick Rangers last season, in which he scored seven goals.
Meanwhile, Caldwell, according to Sproule, is more in the mould of O’Connor, Hibs’ top scorer last term.
“Ross has come on at the weekend and shown glimpses of what he is about,” Sproule praised. “He is a young boy, but a powerful young boy.
“He reminds me of a young Garry O’Connor. When he first burst onto the scene he was raw, exciting and he has a big season ahead of him.
“It’s hard to judge a player and say he will be as good as Garry O’Connor, because Garry has enjoyed a great career, but Ross has the ability, he has the power and he’s in the right place to be developed by the coaches around him.
“Because of the situation at the club, he will maybe be presented with the chance to play this season, and with young players sometimes it is all about whether they want to grab it. Let’s hope Ross can do that.”
East Fife: Brown; Durie, McCormack (Brewster 75), White, Johnstone (Malcolm 50); Williamson, Muir, Smith (Jamieson 75), McBride (Martin 88); Samuel (King 75), Wardlaw. Subs not used: Collier, Gordon.
Hibernian: Williams (Antell); Clancy, McPake, Stephens (Maybury 45), Hanlon (Booth 60); Sproule (Stanton 78), Claros (Osbourne 45), Stevenson (Monaghan 64), Cairney (Kujabi 67); Wotherspoon (Handling 85); Doyle (Caldwell 45).
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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