Fenlon lauds Hibs' stunning fightback

14 April 2013 10:47

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon hailed the character of his players after they pulled themselves back from the abyss to reach their second successive William Hill Scottish Cup final with a 4-3 victory over Falkirk.

Falkirk went three ahead inside 30 minutes through teenagers Craig Sibbald and Jay Fulton plus 21-year-old Blair Alston. Hibs then embarked on a stunning comeback, inspired by the direct running and pace of teenage winger Alex Harris, who pulled one back from long range, before Leigh Griffiths missed a penalty then scored, and substitute Eoin Doyle sent the game into extra-time.

With the game five minutes from penalties, Griffiths powered a 25-yard strike into the top corner to complete a remarkable turnaround, and Fenlon said: "We can't give ourselves that sort of a start in matches but the players, from half-time onwards, were tremendous."

He added: "Even when we missed the penalty and you think maybe it's not going to be our day, we showed real character to keep going.

"There is massive heart in there. They got a reaction out of themselves, as well as us.

"To come from 3-0 behind in the semi-final of a cup is a tremendous achievement and it has got us to a final for a second year in a row which is fantastic for everybody, the supporters as well, because they have had some hard times here. I'm sure they have gone away in good form."

Some did not go away in high spirits. Dozens, probably hundreds made for the exit after the third goal.

"If I had a way I might have walked out myself at that stage," Fenlon said. "I can understand that, I don't have any problem with that at all. The ones that stayed were fantastic, they backed us and carried us through like they have done in all the games in the cup this season."

Fenlon might not have had much choice in leaving Hibernian if the second half had followed in the same vein as the first following the club's failure to make the top six of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, but he dismissed the idea the group in general were playing for their futures after the break.

"I think they were playing for pride," he said. "They let themselves down in the first half, we let the supporters down. And that's me included, I'm not throwing that at the players. I maybe got the team wrong initially but we got things right at half-time and the players showed tremendous desire to win the game."

Source: PA