Hibernian finally saw their pre-season campaign get under way at Bayview Stadium yesterday, with Pat Fenlon’s side recording a routine 2-0 victory over East Fife.
Scorers: Hibernian - Sproule 52; Clancy 79
The Easter Road side were due to face Romanians Rapid Bucharest in Grangemouth, but that encounter was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. It left the Hibees with a desperate scramble for some game time ahead of departing for their training camp in Holland on Tuesday.
Gordon Durie’s Fifers were only too happy to oblige, even at short notice, and both sides produced an eminently watchable friendly which was ultimately decided by second-half goals from Ivan Sproule and Tim Clancy.
Fenlon said: “We have been working them hard since they came back so we were desperate to get the boys a game.”
Fenlon handed a respectable travelling support at Bayview an early sighting of all four summer signings. James McPake captained the side, while Paul Cairney, Tim Clancy and Ben Williams were all given a first start for the Easter Road outfit.
Despite several decent chances in the first period it took until into the second-half for the Edinburgh club to claim the lead, and through an altogether more familiar face.
Sproule opened the scoring with a sweet right-footed volley past the Fifers’ keeper Michael Brown from just inside the box following a fine deep cross by Cairney. The visitors doubled their advantage from an even more unlikely source, with summer arrival from Motherwell Clancy curling a 20-yard free-kick into the corner of the net.
“I did not sign Clancy to do that,” smiled Fenlon. “But if he feels like chipping in with a few top-corner free-kicks then I am okay with that.” Indeed Fenlon was delighted to see tentative signs that his plea for goals to come from all over the pitch could be answered this season during the win, and he continued: “We played Ivan (Sproule), Paul (Cairney) and David (Wotherspoon), and we believe they are all capable of getting goals for us.”
East Fife: M Brown; S Durie, D McCormack (R Brewster 75), D White, C Johnstone (B Malcolm 50); I Williamson, D Muir, D Smith (A Jamieson 75), S McBride (J Martin 88); C Samuel (A King 75), G Wardlaw..
Hibernian: B Williams (C Antell); T Clancy, J McPake, D Stephens (A Maybury 45), P Hanlon (C Booth 60); I Sproule (S Stanton 78), J Claros (I Osbourne 45), L Stevenson (H Monaghan 64), P Cairney (P Kujabi 67); D Wotherspoon (D Handling 85); E Doyle (R Caldwell 45).
Referee: G Duncan.