Hanlon focused on improvement after ‘standards drop’

Paul Hanlon: 'Bit of inconsistency'. Picture: SNS
Paul Hanlon: 'Bit of inconsistency'. Picture: SNS
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PAUL Hanlon admits Hibernian let their standards drop alarmingly against St Johnstone on Monday and they have spent the week focused on putting it right against the league’s other Saints in Paisley this afternoon.

Hibs have enjoyed two wins against St Mirren this season, but Danny Lennon’s side have been on the crest of a wave in recent weeks after reaching the Scottish Communities League Cup final and will provide a tough test today as Hanlon and his colleagues tried to make amends for the dismal 3-1 reverse against St Johnstone.

“It was a game at home so we should be playing better than that in front of our home fans,” Hanlon reflected. “We are disappointed in it and we are looking to put it right this weekend. We discussed it a bit but didn’t watch it and just got back on the training ground. The manager has tried to get the spirits back up.”

Pat Fenlon’s team have started to slide down the SPL, having been in a position to catch leaders Celtic at the tail-end of last year. Their statistics make alarming reading – just one victory out of their past ten league matches, ironically against Celtic – and Hanlon conceded: “There is a bit of inconsistency just now. We had some good results followed by bad results, which is disappointing for us. We need to move on. Every team in the league will have bad results. We had one on Monday so we need to put it right. We dropped our standards against St Johnstone and if you do that against anyone in this league, they will punish you because this league is so close.”

Turning to today’s match, he added: “It will be a tough one. Anyone can beat anyone. They are on a decent run of form and full of confidence.”

Meanwhile, St Mirren midfielder Kenny McLean has again shrugged off speculation about his future and insisted he is more excited about the possibility of a League Cup winner’s medal when the Buddies go up against Hearts in the Hampden final next month.

And the Scotland Under-21 player also harbours dreams of glory in the William Hill Scottish Cup, where St Mirren host Celtic in the quarter-final next month. It is the prospect of silverware and success which is driving McLean on.

He said: “We have the final coming up so there is a great chance for a medal and that is massive for someone at such a young age like myself. I am enjoying my football at St Mirren, enjoying life in the SPL, so there isn’t much more you can ask for at 21. People keep saying a move is going to happen but I need to put that to the back of my mind and concentrate on what’s in front of me. If I do go, I think it has got to be right for both parties.

“The club have treated me ever so well since I came here from Rangers as a young boy when things didn’t work out at Ibrox. They took me in and gave me my chance at such a young age. I have played 70 or 80 games for the first team, which is great. So I think any move has got to be right for both parties and the club will say the same, I’m sure.”

Ahead of the visit of Hibs, he added: “Hibs aren’t playing too well but you can’t look too much into that. It’s about what happens on the day. We have a good run going right now but we were on a bad run ourselves.”

McLean, unsurprisingly, pinpointed Leigh Griffiths as Hibs’ danger man. The colourful Easter Road striker scored a brace in both 2-1 wins over St Mirren this season. McLean said: “He has done a bit of damage to us so we need to keep him quiet and, hopefully, that will be half the battle.”