Hanlon hails Hibs' fighting spirit

Paul HANLON today hailed Hibs' fighting spirit after the Easter Road club stormed back from losing two first-half goals against Dundee United to claim a precious point as they bid to haul themselves away from the foot of the SPL table.

The Edinburgh club went into last night's match having slipped into 11th place after Aberdeen had beaten Hamilton earlier in the day and their situation became even bleaker as United striker David Goodwillie twice capitalised on more poor defending from Colin Calderwood's side to put the Tannadice outfit two goals up after just 35 minutes.

But after Sol Bamba threw Hibs a lifeline with a goal just before half-time, fellow defender Hanlon capped a terrific fightback as he diverted Danny Galbraith's driven cross into the net for an 89th-minute equaliser.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Today the Scotland Under-21 captain insisted the "never say die" attitude displayed showed there's plenty of fighting spirit within a side which has endured a tortuous first half of the season, his goal having lifted Hibs into ninth place, although they remain just six points ahead of basement outfit Hamilton who have two games in hand.

He said: "I think at 2-0 down a lesser side would just have folded but we didn't crumble, we came back and I think that shows the spirit we have within the squad.

"We went into the game knowing we were second bottom after Aberdeen's win against Hamilton and, although you don't want to be going 2-0 down at home, I think this was a big result for us."

Hanlon admitted it had been a "fantastic" feeling to have claimed his second goal of the season, saying: "All the emotions were there: relief, joy, a bit of everything. I saw Danny drive the ball back across goal after Derek Riordan's corner had been flicked on and I just managed to stick a leg out and put it into the corner of the net. It was a fanstastic feeling and while we'd all obviously rather have had the three points, I think having been two down we were all reasonably happy with the point.

"We can't hide away from the position we are in but you have to look forward because to look back would only drag us down. I think this was a massive point and hopefully it can kick us on."

Hanlon admitted the battling draw was important for morale ahead of the second Edinburgh derby of the season as Hibs head across the Capital to Tynecastle on New Year's Day to face a Hearts side which is in impressive form, last night's win over St Mirren tightening their grip on third place.

And while he happily accepts Jim Jefferies' team will be red-hot favourites, Hanlon insisted he and his team-mates will make the short journey with confidence restored.

He said: "It would have been very disappointing to be going into the derby with another defeat, you want to be full of confidence and I think our second half performance last night has lifted everyone.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I am sure the bookies will have them as favourites and their fans will be thinking they'll win. But it is a derby and anything can happen."