Football returns - Hibs visit EEP with both squads set to feature some new faces
Pre-season friendly - Thursday 6 July 2017 - East End Park, KO 7.45pm
The first pre-season friendly of 2017/18 reunites 2 teams that contested 4 Championship fixtures last season. After their title win, Hibs are now a Premiership team for the first time since season 2013-14, and have ambitions to secure a top 6 finish. Selling over 10,000 season tickets this summer indicates the size of the club in Scottish football terms, and while the loss of top scorer Jason Cummings will not help the Hibs' cause this season, manager Neil Lennon has brought in other players to compensate for the departure of his star player.
Thursday's game at East End Park will be both teams' first pre-season friendly in front of their supporters. Hibs have not played any warm-up games so far, while Dunfermline's first game of the new season was a closed doors game against Partick Thistle on Saturday (Pars Review report from the game: www.parsreview.org/blog/match-report1091036).
For Dunfermline, it will be the fans' first chance to see new signings Jean Yves M'Voto, Declan McManus and Aaron Splaine, although McManus missed the Partick game with a minor injury and so may not feature. Allan Johnston fielded 4 trialists against Partick, 2 of whom have now departed (Lawrence Shankland and Filip Duris) while Michael Coulson and Cameron King are both still believed to be training with the club, as Johnston continues to assess them. There is also the possibility of other trialists being brought in. Johnston fielded 2 different teams in each half against Partick, with the exception of goalkeeper Cammy Gill, who played the whole game. It is likely that a more settled 11 will play against Hibs, and although substitutions will be made, not to the extent of changing the entire team.
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has signed 4 new players this summer, although 2 of them were on loan at Easter Road last season - goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and defender Efe Ambrose. The other new faces are ex-Dundee United striker Simon Murray and former St Johnstone player Danny Swanson. Lennon missed out on another target, Kyle Lafferty, when the striker decided to sign for Hearts this week.
Long-serving Hibs midfielder Lewis Stevenson, who has a testimonial match against Sunderland on Sunday, recently described Lennon's fierce will-to-win attitude: “The manager has big expectations and that’s what pushed us on last season. Sometimes he is hard to please and that brings out the best in you. He doesn’t accept second best. He wants to win. He’s a winner and that’s the way to be. You want that. There have been times when we’ve not played as well as we should and we have won – and generally that makes him seem happy.
“There have been times when we’ve played reasonably well and been unlucky not to win – and he’s raging. Winning makes the manager happy and that’s what you need. Every day, he’s hard at it and he brings the best out of us every single day.”
Photos: Pars Review
Full match report/opinion and photos will be posted at around 11pm Thursday.