Hibernian V Ross County at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview

30 August 2013 05:31
Hibernian V Ross County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hanlon wary of Sproule threat

Hibernian defender Paul Hanlon is determined to prevent former team-mate Ivan Sproule from haunting his old club again when Ross County come calling this weekend.

Sproule enjoyed two successful spells at the Edinburgh club, before sealing a move to the Highlands in January.

The winger then grabbed the winner when the two sides met in Dingwall last season.

Now, as Sproule prepares to make his first visit to Easter Road since quitting Hibs, Hanlon is keen to snuff out the threat this time.

He told Press Association Sport: "He came back to haunt us last year when we played them up there.

"They won 1-0 and he scored so we know how dangerous he can be on his day.

"We will try to nullify that and play well ourselves."

The defender added: "It will be good to catch up with him after the game but, beforehand, I will just be concentrating on the game ahead.

"He was great for Hibs when he was here in both spells so I'm sure he will get a good reception from the Hibs fans."

Hibs and Ross County both endured difficult starts to the new season before picking up their first league wins last weekend.

However, Hanlon knows their opponents will still be smarting from their midweek Scottish League Cup loss to Stranraer.

He said: "It's going to be a tough game. They will be disappointed after their midweek cup exit and we know it will be a difficult game. It always is against Ross County.

"We've just got to look at ourselves and take confidence from last week's performance into this home game.

"I don't think we've beaten Ross County in a competitive game so that's one we are looking to get rid of as soon as we can.

"There is no better time than this weekend I suppose."

FC Istres winger Abdellah Zoubir could be added to the Hibernian after agreeing a loan move subject to international clearance.

Scott Robertson is in contention after missing out last week with a knock, while Kevin Thomson is still suspended.

Alex Harris, Paul Cairney, Tim Clancy and James McPake remain on the sidelines, with the latter two edging closer to a return.

Ross County midfielder Richard Brittain believes the Staggies face a strengthened Hibernian side this weekend as they bid to continue their stranglehold over the Edinburgh club.

County beat Hibs in all three meetings last season and have never lost to Pat Fenlon's men, who they knocked out of the Scottish Cup on their way to the 2010 final.

Hibs lost their first four games of the season but they have collected four points from the last two Scottish Premiership games and Brittain expects a difficult encounter at Easter Road.

He said: "We did really well against them last year but it will be a different test because they have brought in a lot of players over the summer - Kevin Thomson, James Collins up front, Liam Craig has been on a good scoring run.

"They are top players and we will need to be on our toes to keep these players quiet if we are to take anything from them."

Ross County manager Derek Adams can name an unchanged squad for the Scottish Premiership clash.

Adams has an injury concern over Alex Cooper but the young midfielder has not featured in recent weeks.

The County boss could make changes following the League Cup defeat at Stranraer.

Source: PA