Fenlon insists Hibs squad commitment not an issue

HIBERNIAN manager Pat Fenlon insists his players have not taken their eye off the ball in the SPL as a second successive Scottish Cup final looms large on the horizon.
Pat Fenlon: 'A lot to play for'. Picture: SNSPat Fenlon: 'A lot to play for'. Picture: SNS
Pat Fenlon: 'A lot to play for'. Picture: SNS

The Easter Road outfit played out an underwhelming 0-0 stalemate against Aberdeen on Monday evening, maintaining the Hibees’ dismal run of just one league win in 2013.

The performance drew a brutal assessment from Dundee manager John Brown, whose side will be relegated on Saturday if St Mirren triumph against Hibs in the capital.

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“Bomber” said he feared the worst after witnessing the “woeful” display by Fenlon’s charges, adding: “I was looking at a Hibs team waiting for a cup final.”

However, Fenlon is adamant his side’s commitment was beyond question and says the 26 May showpiece against Celtic could not be further from his thoughts.

“I don’t think you can say anyone did not try hard or work hard,” said the Irishman.

“We’ve tried to get the tempo up really high and I think the players carried that into the [Aberdeen] game. It is just the quality was not as good as it should be and we have to work hard as coaches to improve on that.

“The cup final is not on my mind. That is one thing I want to get away from, because I think last year there was too much focus on that and we have massive games coming up.

“We have a lot to play for and we need to make sure the players know that and we work them hard every day until the season finishes.

“There is a lot to look forward to and it is important the players realise that.”

While Fenlon is reluctant to focus on next month’s cup final, he has warned his players that a blistering end to the SPL campaign is the only way to guarantee a jersey for the Hampden showpiece.

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He said: “Between Monday and Saturday is a short turn­around, so it is about making sure we are fresh and that eagerness is there again.

“People can talk about the cup final. Well, if players want to be in the squad or the team then you have to perform in the games leading up to it.”