Garry O’Connor blames Pat Fenlon for 5-1 final loss

A dejected Garry O'Connor after losing 5 - 1 to Hearts.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
A dejected Garry O'Connor after losing 5 - 1 to Hearts. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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FORMER Hibernian favourite Garry O’Connor has launched a scathing attack on former boss Pat Fenlon, describing him as the worst manager he has ever worked under and laying the blame for their 5-1 Scottish Cup final hammering against Hearts squarely at the Irishman’s door.

The 30-year-old, who is attempting to revitalise his own career after joining Morton earlier this month, lambasted Fenlon’s tactical ability, man-management style and hinted that, towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign, the former Bohemians boss had already lost the confidence of the dressing room.

After seven months of working under Fenlon, O’Connor did not renew his contract with Hibs in June 2012, bringing his second spell at Easter Road to an end. The big striker is adamant that decision was a direct result of his former boss’s management style and, particularly, the build-up to that ill-fated Scottish Cup final against Hearts – when the entire Hibs squad was taken to Ireland for their preparation.

Fenlon resigned from his post at Easter Road amid fierce supporter protests on 1 November, with Terry Butcher replacing him at the helm.

Asked on BBC Scotland who was the worst manager he has ever worked under, O’Connor said: “It’s Pat Fenlon. His tactics and the way he set up the team – he killed us in that Scottish Cup final. Leading up to that game he must have worked on about three or four different teams and there were a lot of issues beforehand with bonuses and players not being in the squad. That’s not what you need in the build-up to a cup final and I didn’t think he handled it very well. That’s why I didn’t sign for him again.

“I would definitely agree [that he didn’t move the club forward]. The year he came in, we survived. But I think it was the wrong decision to bring Pat in. The season I was there, the dressing room had definitely lost faith in him. A few of the players – Stacky [Graham Stack] and Ian Murray – would tell you exactly the same thing.”