Tuesday 23 May 2017

Fenlon's close-up view of the challenge ahead

Pat Fenlon completed his watching brief from the stands in his first game since taking over as manager of Hibernian, but saw the size of the task ahead of him in the Scottish Premier League, as St Johnstone defeated his new charges 3-1 after an impressive comeback at McDiarmid Park.

The Dubliner will take over team affairs tomorrow as caretaker boss Billy Brown sat in the dugout yesterday. Saints were dealt an early blow when Fenlon's countryman, Cillian Sheridan from Cavan, was forced out of the action through injury before Richie Towell opened the scoring for Hibs.

Peter Enckelman blocked well from a point-blank shot from Leigh Griffiths and got a hand to Towell's follow-up shot but could not prevent the rebound from hitting the back of the net.

But the Perth side were back on level terms shortly before the break. Francisco Sandaza rammed home a rebound after his first attempt crashed off the post.

Saints took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Dave Mackay picked out Marcus Haber at the back post and he left the net bulging with a free header.

St Johnstone increased their lead two minutes after the restart when Mackay stepped up for a free-kick and sent a curling effort past Graham Stack in off the post.

Saints still looked capable of scoring again and Sandaza shot over from outside the area as the final whistle signaled the end of the game but the beginning for Fenlon.

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