Hibs chase Veteran Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi
Veteran Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi has emerged as a shock target for Hibs as boss Pat Fenlon seeks an experienced frontman to partner derby-day goalscorer Leigh Griffiths.
The 35-year-old was at Easter Road to watch Griffiths claim a point from the first Edinburgh derby of the season with an equaliser on the stroke of half-time after a blunder by former Hearts defender Alan Maybury, making his debut in a green and white shirt, gifted Jambos star Andy Driver the opener.
Fenlon later played down Kuqi’s presence at the game, joking: “I hope he enjoyed it, I did,” before going on to say that he was still looking for further new signings having made seven so far this summer.
However, it is understood Kuqi, who played last season for English League One outfit Oldham Athletic, is very much on Fenlon’s radar, meeting the criteria the Irishman is seeking as he bids to add more firepower to his squad.
At 6ft 2ins, the Kosovo-born star would certainly bring a physical presence that Griffiths and Eoin Doyle, Fenlon’s current first-choice partnership, lack, while having played for the likes of Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham, Swansea City, Blackburn Rovers, Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town, Kuqi has clocked up some 500 first-team appearances. He also played for Finland – his family moved there as immigrants – 62 times and in addition to immediately offering Fenlon a further option would be seen as someone who could bring his vast experience to bear on Hibs teenage frontmen Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling, who both made substitute appearances in the derby.
Fenlon, meanwhile, was delighted with the attitude and character of his side as they faced their arch rivals for the first time since the 5-1 Scottish Cup final mauling. The hangover from that May demolition was evident as Easter Road hosted a crowd of just 12,887, with 3863 of them Hearts supporters. Fenlon, though, insisted it was now up to his players to win back those missing fans.
“I’m not going to ask the supporters to do any more for us,” he said. “They have been fantastic since I have been here but it’s up to us to get them back through the gates and this was a small step in the right direction. It was one point and we are not going to get overly excited, but like at any football club if you are winning matches people will come and watch.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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