Former League of Ireland stalwart Pat Fenlon has overseen his Hibernian side to a pivotal 3-2 away win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Having won trophies almost every one of the nine seasons he managed in the League of Ireland; Fenlon’s brief in Edinburgh will not be to win trophies but to survive the Scottish Premier League relegation battle that they are currently involved in. Hibs are six points clear of apparently doomed Dunfermline but have some way to go (five points) to catch third from bottom Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Fenlon’s side have struggled since – and before – his appointment. The Easter Road outfit have however earned fewer league points (12) from their 16 games under Fenlon’s stewardship than in the 16 league games preceding his appointment (14). The gap between them and bottom club Dunfermline Athletic has increased from two points to six in that time however.
Hibs’ woeful defensive record has worsened under Fenlon, conceding a dreadful 35 goals in his time in charge as opposed to 26 from Colin Calderwood’s 16 games as manager this season. Fenlon’s Hibs have scored 17 goals, one more than Calderwood’s goals for in the same time period. Whilst the figures aren’t impressive, the Dubliner has been unable to bring in his own players, so this isn’t Fenlon’s team at all. The two time winner of the Soccer Writer’s of Ireland Personality of the Year award has also improved on the only statistic that really matters to Hibs’ fans this season; that is the distance between them and Dunfermline.
Hibs have earned a Scottish Cup semi-final berth this season. Should they manage to lift that trophy and survive relegation this season, Fenlon would be written into the club’s folklore and face his first full season in charge of the club with all sorts of possibilities – including the possibility of building his own team at Easter Road.