| 8.2°C Dublin

Fenlon denies being victim of headbutt in bust-up with striker Griffiths

PAT FENLON has denied reports in the Scottish media which suggested that he was headbutted on the training ground by Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths.

The Hibs boss confirmed that "robust views and opinions" were shared in Tuesday's session, but insisted that Griffiths had not aimed a headbutt in his direction before having a further altercation with assistant boss Billy Brown.

Griffiths, who is on loan from Wolves, has already had a few run-ins with Fenlon, and has been fined on more than one occasion this season for making offensive gestures at his own club's supporters.

It was reported that the 21-year-old was set to be turfed out after the altercation, but a statement released by the Scottish Premier League club said that Griffiths was still in Fenlon's plans.

"It was typical training ground stuff," said the Dubliner. "I'm surprised at the rubbish in the press.

"As is usual for high-tempo training sessions involving committed players and coaching staff, robust views and opinions are shared and it (Tuesday) was no different.


"Leigh is a quality striker and a lively personality and will remain a key part of my team for the rest of the season. There's nothing at all in the story. We just want to focus on winning and getting up the table."

Fenlon could do without such distractions as he tries to keep the Easter Road club in the top flight. They are four points ahead of bottom club Dunfermline with eight games remaining.

The former Shelbourne, Derry City and Bohemians manager has also taken his new employers into the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. It is claimed in the report that some players are unhappy with Fenlon's match preparations.

When Fenlon arrived at the club before Christmas, he immediately focused on improving the fitness of the players he inherited, feeling it was well below the required standard.

He has also worked hard on improving discipline, right down to basic requirements such as certain players repeatedly turning up late for training.

The 43-year-old bolstered his squad with a number of loan captures in the January transfer window, and performances have improved.

More than a dozen of his players are out of contract in the summer, and it's understood that Fenlon is planning a massive overhaul of his squad. In the meantime, he must work with the players at his disposal.

Fenlon was unhappy with his team's performance in the weekend derby defeat to arch rivals Hearts.

Irish Independent