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Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:34 UK

Hibernian team guide

BBC Sport's guide to Hibernian


How did Hibs finish last season? A late charge for Europe fizzled out after the top-six split, picking up just two points from their final five matches and ending up sixth in the table.

Hibernian

Manager: Mixu Paatelainen arrived at Easter Road in January after the surprise resignation of John Collins. He lifted the side from eighth spot into the top half of the table with a run of impressive home form.

The Finn was a hugely popular centre forward with Hibs, scoring 40 goals in two spells at the club, including a hat-trick in the 6-2 victory over Hearts in October 2000. Previous managerial experience at Cowdenbeath and TPS Turku in his homeland.

Captain: Rob Jones is entering his third season in the capital. The towering defender arrived from Grimbsy Town and enjoyed a memorable first campaign, lifting the CIS Cup after scoring the opener in a 5-1 victory against Kilmarnock at Hampden.

Always a threat in the air, he found the net eight times in his first Hibs term, but the goals dried up last season and there were a few shaky moments at the back.

Scottish top-flight highlights: Hibs fans have not had much to sing about since the formation of the Premier League in season 1975/76. Third place is the best the club have managed - on four occasions.

Hibs have been Scottish champions four times, but the last success was in 1952.

Hibs legend: Of recent times, Franck Sauzee quickly earned hero status as he played out the twilight of his distinguished career at Easter Road. The European Cup winner was always a picture of calm during the heat of battle and packed a ferocious shot.

Hibernian striker Steven Fletcher

Star man: At 21, Steven Fletcher already has bags of experience, having been a first-team regular for the past four seasons. The young striker has reached double figures for the last three campaigns, with his goals tally always rising.

Good in the air and blessed with a sweet left foot, Fletcher is sure to build significantly on his one international cap.

Strengths: Easter Road has long been a formidable ground for opponents and Hibs lost just four league games on home soil last season.

Chris Hogg is maturing into an excellent central defender, while Dean Shiels and Merouane Zemmama are tricky midfielders, capable of opening up defences and supporting Fletcher in the quest for goals.

Weaknesses: Hibs lost 10 games on their travels last term, which was one less than during the previous term. The goalkeeping department has let the club down, with some high-profile gaffes costing dear. Jones also fails to convince as a leader on the park.

The team lacks a threat from out wide, with wingers Alan O'Brien and Filipe Morais failing to make an impact and the full-back area proving problematic.

Fans have grown frustrated by the talent drain in recent times, with a number of top young players departing for the Old Firm.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Our verdict: Hibs have made a bad habit of conceding downright ridiculous goals. Young goalkeepers Yves Ma-Kalambay and Andrew McNeil have shown signs of improvement, but neither man inspires great confidence.

The return of Ian Murray offers better defensive protection, but they lack a playmaker from deep now Guillaume Beuzelin has departed. May struggle to reach the top six unless new recruits can be found.


see also
Aberdeen team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Aberdeen
Celtic team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Celtic
Dundee United team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd
Falkirk team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Falkirk
Hamilton Academical team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hamilton
Hearts team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hearts
Inverness CT team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Inverness CT
Kilmarnock team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Kilmarnock
Motherwell team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Motherwell
Rangers team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Rangers
St Mirren team guide
05 Aug 08 |  St Mirren


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