Paul Heffernan prepared to be Hibs’ play-off hero

Paul Heffernan. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Paul Heffernan. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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PAUL Heffernan hopes to emerge as Hibs’ play-off hero after vowing to get the goals needed to keep the club in the Premiership.

The 32-year-old was ruled out for the rest of the season after tearing his groin in the warm-up before the 2-0 defeat at home to Aberdeen in early April.

However, the former Kilmarnock striker was a surprise starter in Saturday’s ill-fated last-day decider with his old club as Hibs failed to avoid 11th place in the table and consigned themselves to a nerve-shredding play-off over two legs next week.

The semi-final between Falkirk and Hamilton Accies is finely poised after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw, but Accies’ manager Alex Neil is convinced the Championship winners will have the momentum required to plunge Hibs into second-tier uncertainty. The Easter Road side have won once in their last 19 matches, with no wins in 13, and have scored three times in ten games – compared to Falkirk’s 21 and Hamilton’s 27.

Heffernan, though, is confident he can add the desperately needed potency in front of goal.

He said: “The position we’re currently in is far from ideal, but hopefully I can go out and score the goals to keep us up. Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, I always want to score and if I’m picked for the first leg then my aim will be to get on the scoresheet. If I can score then that will get some confidence back into the team and give
everybody a lift.”

Heffernan made no difference to Hibs’ attack against Kilmarnock on Saturday as a bright opening failed to yield a goal and the familiar story of a strike at the other end knocked the stuffing out of Butcher’s side. However, the former Doncaster Rovers striker is sure he will be better prepared come next Wednesday’s play-off first leg.

He added: “I had only trained for three days in the build-up to the Kilmarnock match and, although I felt fit and injury-free, I was lacking match sharpness. But I’m confident I will be back up to speed after a good week of training and preparing properly for the upcoming two games.”