Pat Fenlon today admitted Hibs will have to lift their game big-time if they are to have any hope of enjoying an extended run in Europe after watching his side complete their preparations for a trip to Malmo with a no-scoring draw against First Division Raith Rovers.
The Easter Road outfit travel to Sweden in just four days’ time for the first leg of their Europa League qualifying campaign and Fenlon conceded he had plenty to think about in the interim, describing the performance at Stark’s Park as “disappointing and flat.”
Malmo had a spy in the stand in Kirkcaldy, leading Fenlon to comment he’d probably departed for home “rubbing his hands”, but insisting the Swedes will face an entirely different proposition next Thursday night in the Swedbank Stadion.
Last night’s match was Hibs’ fourth as they readied themselves for their first Euro adventure in three years having previously faced Dumbarton, the Gibraltar national side and Nottingham Forest but it was, Fenlon agreed, their poorest performance of the lot. The Hibs boss said: “It was a poor performance to be fair. We’d played a lot better in the other three games and that’s a bit disappointing.
“We looked a bit flat but we have worked the boys hard this week.”
Fenlon, who had dashed back after watching Malmo defeat Irish side Drogheda just 24 hours earlier but such was his disappointment he claimed Hibs would have struggled to beat either of those sides with such a display.
Told Malmo had been watching, he said: “Good, hopefully he’s away rubbing his hands. We need to be a lot better
than that, we are going to have to play very well to go through.”
However, Fenlon believes that his players will lift themselves when the serious action begins against a side joint top of their League.
He said: “You have to prepare the same for every game and we spoke about that immediately after last night’s game. We must have the right approach.”
Both Kevin Thomson and former Celtic and Middlesbrough defender Steven McManus watched the no-scoring draw but Fenlon insisted he was no closer to making any further signings at present. He said: “We are working away on a few, but we will have to wait and see.”