Scottish Championship - Saturday 01/04/17 - KO 3.00pm - East End Park
Odds (Ladbrokes): Dunfermline 10/3; Draw 5/2; Hibs 5/6
Dunfermline go into tomorrow's game against division leaders Hibs on a run of just 2 defeats in the past 16 League games, yet only 4 points clear of the relegation play-off position. Hibs failed to take a huge step towards winning the title with a goalless draw against second place Morton in midweek, but in avoiding defeat they also prevented their lead being cut. After scoring an injury time winner in their game against Falkirk last weekend, while Dunfermline were ending Morton's 364 day unbeaten home record, this has been a good week overall for Hibs. If Hibs are to be promoted, Lennon will have done the job he was brought in last summer to do.
Our opponents -
Last five outings:
29 March - Championship - Drew 0-0 v Morton (H)
25 March - Championship - Won 2-1 v Falkirk (H)
18 March - Championship - Drew 2-2 v Dumbarton (H)
10 March - Championship - Drew 1-0 v Dundee United (A)
4 March - Scottish Cup - Won 3-1 v Ayr United (H)
Hibs fans have claimed that their team has played "winning" football as opposed to the more attractive brand of play they enjoyed under previous manager Alan Stubbs. That was presumably Neil Lennon's remit: win. Promotion is essential to the club which is now in its third season in the second tier. That is unacceptable for a club that are the current Scottish Cup holders and who attracted a crowd of over 15,000 to the midweek home game against Morton. Hibs belong in the Premiership and are likely to be back there very soon.
Hibs have spent an average of just 9 minutes behind in League games this season: contrast that to Dundee United, rated pre-season as Hibs' biggest rivals for the Championship title, who have spent an average of 21 minutes per game trailing.
Hibs have only had a half-time lead in 2 of their 15 away League games this season. They have gone onto win 9 of those 15 games, more than they have won at home (7).
In the dugout
A divisive figure, who has been a controversial character ion Scottish football for many years, as a player and manager at Celtic, and now as Hibs manager. Sent to the stand in the midweek game against Morton, despite protesting his innocence, he also said that "I didn't start it, but if it comes to blows, it comes to blows", referring to his part in the scenes below when a player from each side was sent off late in the game.
Pars & Hibs facts & stats
Head to head record - last 10 meetings:
Pars wins: 2
Hibs wins: 5
Pars Review match reports from the games between the teams this season:
13 August 2016 - Hibs 2, Pars 1
22 October 2016 - Pars 1, Hibs 3
25 February 2017: Hibs 2, Pars 2
Only 1 player in Hibs first team squad has Dunfermline connections - striker Lewis Allan, currently on loan to Edinburgh City, played 8 games for the Pars in a loan spell from Hibs in 2015.
From the current Pars squad, Sean Murdoch was at Easter Road from 2012-2014, mainly as a back-up keeper, making just 2 appearances.
Here is the current Championship table:
Last five outings:
25 March - Championship - Won 1-0 v Morton (A)
18 March - Championship - Lost 1-0 v Ayr United (H)
11 March - Championship - Drew 0-0 v St Mirren (A)
7 March - Championship - Drew 1-1 v Queen of the South (H)
4 March - Championship - Won 5-1 v Dumbarton (H)
Last week's win at Morton was one of the Pars best performances of the season, and with the return from injury after a 1 game absence for both Andy Geggan and Paul McMullan, saw the established first 11 back in action. As covered in "The Squad" article on this site 2 days ago (www.parsreview.org/blog/the-squad) the 11 players who started against Morton, plus Rhys McCabe and Michael Paton from the substitutes, would form a good squad for next season, with around 6 additions in certain areas to provide competition and back-up. Ben Richards-Everton continues his recovery from long-term injury, while Lewis Martin is training and may feature on the bench. David Hopkirk has another niggling injury.
Although Rhys McCabe did well in his appearance as a sub last week, I would start with the same team that began the game at Morton.
Preferred starting 11, with squad numbers:
Tomorrow: Game Day image, then later in the evening match report/opinion with photos and Pars player ratings.