Pat FENLON has claimed Hibs are now “worlds apart” from the team he inherited last season as the Easter Road club chase a top-six finish and a second successive Scottish Cup final appearance.
The manager arrived in Edinburgh 16 months ago to find a club, which had finished tenth the previous season, battling to avoid relegation, a feat they managed only in the penultimate game of the season as they crushed Dunfermline 4-0 to condemn the Pars to First Division football.
Bitter disappointment, of course, was to follow as Hibs were humiliated by Hearts in the Cup final but since then, Fenlon feels his side have taken vast strides in the right direction, surprising many as they surged from second bottom of the SPL table to second top.
Hibs, however, have since made heavy weather of securing their place in the top six and face a stiff fight with Dundee United, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock to do so but with only two games – against third-placed Inverness and champions-elect Celtic – before the split.
Even so, Fenlon firmly believes his side have proved far more resilient than in the past and are more able to handle setbacks such as Friday’s defeat by Motherwell at Fir Park which put a further question mark against their bid to finish in the top half of the league.
Admitting he’d endured a steep learning curve after arriving from Dublin club Bohemians to succeed Colin Calderwood, Fenlon said: “We had to throw ourselves head first into it and that’s what we have done.
“But I don’t look at my own situation, it’s just how we can progress the club. From where we have been to where we are now are worlds apart. We are talking about getting into the top six, the semi-final. Last year we were talking about relegation. That’s an improvement but we have to make sure we maintain that focus and we work on that.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have announced tickets for the Cup semi-final against Falkirk at Hampden on Saturday, April 13, will go on sale to current season ticket holders and those who have bought them for the 2013-14 campaign from Saturday. They will each be entitled to buy an unlimited number before a general sale begins the following Saturday.