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Fenlon hails players' character
Published : 13 Aug 2012 07:17:09
Pat Fenlon was delighted with the improved character of his Hibernian players after they came from behind to restore some local pride with a 1-1 draw against Hearts.
But the Hibs manager admits they have a long way to go to win back the faith of the supporters who stayed away from Easter Road following the 5-1 William Hill Scottish Cup final defeat by their Edinburgh rivals in May.
Almost 4,000 Hearts fans filled the away section at Easter Road but little more than 9,000 Hibs fans turned up for the first home match of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season. Fenlon said: "The attitude and desire was there, we showed a lot of character."
The turnout had not been helped by a 3-0 defeat by Dundee United last weekend, while no doubt many could not face the taunting of their rival fans over that Hampden thrashing. But the Hibs fans who did turn up would have been buoyed by the fight shown by their team in a game of three bookings apiece.
Alan Maybury, one of five summer arrivals in the line-up, gifted his former club a 29th-minute opener when Andrew Driver pounced on his short headed backpass towards Ben Williams. But Leigh Griffiths finished off a crossfield move 30 seconds before half-time and Hibs had the better chances in a scrappy second half.
Fenlon added: "When you go a goal down when you've probably been slightly the better team, it can rock you back a bit. In fairness the two players involved are experienced players and just put it behind them. The character after that was fantastic."
"I think we're a long way with the supporters, we owe them a lot more than just getting a point. They are just waiting to get behind us, you could feel that and they were immense again. Even though there were a fair few empty seats, it's up to us to make sure we get the punters back."
Fenlon was coy when asked about the presence of 35-year-old Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi at Easter Road, saying: "I hope he enjoyed it. We're looking to bring in players, that's all I'm going to say."
Hearts manager John McGlynn felt his players had failed to heed warnings about complacency following the cup final win and their winning start to the SPL season against St Johnstone last weekend.
He said: "The 5-1 victory in the Scottish Cup final, last week we came out the blocks, and this mental attitude thinking it was a matter of turning up by virtually everyone, it kind of backfired. It doesn't matter how much you try to put that over to the players that the form book goes out the window in a derby game."