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Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Room for improvement at Hibs
Bobby Williamson has had to spend wisely
Bobby Williamson has had to spend wisely
Talk of Hibernian over the summer has been dominated by the proposed ground-share option with Edinburgh rivals Hearts.

Supporters of the club have been vocal in their disapproval of any move away from Easter Road and season ticket sales have been poor.

Manager Bobby Williamson inherited an under-achieving squad when he arrived at the tail end of season 2001-02 and financial restrictions have prohibited the ex-Kilmarnock boss from making sweeping changes in personnel.

And while several players have gone, Williamson has been frustrated in his efforts to move on some of the club's higher earners.

There have been three significant signings, with goalkeeper Morten Hyldgaard, defender Colin Murdock and midfielder Stephen Glass all expected to hold down first team places this term.

Hibs' big problem last season was a fragile defence that developed a nasty habit of conceding late goals.

At 6ft 6in, former Coventry keeper Hyldgaard should deal with his fair share of crosses and Murdock's international experience with Northern Ireland may bring more security to the centre of defence.

However, the club are short of recognised full backs and may be forced to play defenders out of position on the flanks.

If Glass can rediscover the kind of form that won him a move to Newcastle United from Aberdeen, then he could form a potent partnership with Hibs' young captain Ian Murray on the left-side of midfield.

Murray, 21, scored 10 goals last season and his powerful running and strong tackling make him one of Scotland's brightest prospects.

The club are also blessed with several talented young forwards and Tam McManus, Garry O'Connor, Derek Riordan, Scott Brown and Stephen Dobbie will be vying for places up front.

At 22, McManus is the oldest of the group and Williamson has the option of using him on the right side of midfield, leaving Jarkko Wiss or Grant Brebner to play a holding role in a side that looks best suited to attack.

If Hibs can supply good service to the young bloods up front, the Easter Road fans should see plenty of goals, but if the frailties at the back are not addressed the team may be on the wrong end of one too many high-scoring defeats.


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