Injury blow for Fenlon as Stack misses final
Pat Fenlon has been dealt a huge blow with the news that first choice goalkeeper Graham Stack will miss the Scottish Cup Final against city rivals Hearts on May 19 due to an injury picked up during Saturday’s win over Aberdeen.
The former Republic of Ireland under 21 international was forced to leave the field having suffered a thigh injury and had his worst fears confirmed by a specialist following a scan which revealed the muscle had been torn from the bone.
Stack is likely to be out of action for three months, which puts a question mark over his Easter Road future as he is out of contract in a few weeks.
He broke the news to Hibs fans via Twitter and said: “I’m devastated, completely crushed. I knew at the time it felt bad but you’ve always got that feeling of hope it might be okay.
“I went for a scan in the morning and was given some hope. The doctor told me it didn’t seem as bad as he thought, so I felt pretty positive. Then I got the call about five o’clock to tell me the bad news.
“It’s the worst game I could have missed. It’s a huge game and I won’t be anywhere near it. It’s the worst possible news I could have had. I’ve been told that I’ve detached my quad from the bone and will be out for ten to 12 weeks.
“After staying injury free this season, apart from a slight calf strain, and starting 35 games I felt I was in the best physical condition possible. It looks like I will have to take a back seat and watch from the stands while my pals stay in the SPL and win the Scottish Cup.
“It was meant to be the best and biggest day in my career and it’s been taken away from me. I might not be out there with a strip on but I will be with the lads every step of the way, including the ones at Hampden.”
“Missing it is bad enough but to be injured when I am out of contract as well couldn’t be worse. My whole summer, my whole life is up in the air. The only thing that fixes it is rest, there’s no operation for it. I now face a long hard summer of rehab and trying to get fit.”
The former Arsenal and Brighton player was signed by John Hughes and fought off competition from Graeme Smith and Mark Brown to secure the number one jersey.
Meanwhile Fenlon has admitted that the semi-final victory had already been consigned to memory, and as the Hibs fans celebrated through the night, Fenlon was back in Ireland planning for the future.
He said: “When you win things, even matches on a week-to-week basis, you enjoy it for about half an hour. Even if it has been league titles or cup finals in Ireland, I’ve had about a day of enjoyment and then it’s back to work. It’s straight on to the next job and developing the next plan.
“The time for looking back and savouring days or achievements come when your career is over. You’ll have plenty of time then.
“After the semi we needed to get straight into doing a couple of things on Sunday. I needed to watch a couple of players and it was important to start moving on immediately.
“The Cup Final is further down the road and we have so many big games and things to do before then. We know it’s Hearts and we’ll be able to do our work on that nearer the time but there are more pressing matters at hand.
“We have to focus on staying in the SPL and developing the entire club because that is the job me and my staff were appointed to do. From day one when we faced Cowdenbeath I said that anything achieved in this Scottish Cup run was a major bonus. The be all and end all is staying in the SPL, so it’s important we make sure we do the job we set out to do when we first walked into the club.”
“We want the players to take some belief out of what they have done in the Scottish Cup. They have reached the Final and that’s a fantastic achievement from anyone’s point of view.
“There are many good, good players who have graced Scottish football and never managed to reach that final. That has to give confidence and instil the belief that they are a good side.
“We have proved that in the Scottish Cup, now it’s up to us to get safe as soon as possible in the SPL.
When Fenlon arrived at Easter Road, the lack of confidence amongst the players was apparent for all to see, and seldom did the team leave the field without a chorus of boos from the stands. Since then, there has been a large turnover of personnel and although results at home have not improved, there is no doubt that the relationship between the players and fans has improved dramatically.
The former Bohs manager said “There are people in our group who had been battered from all angles for eight months and that has a draining effect on people. We brought in some new guys to try to change that.
“Questions were asked as to why so many new faces arrived in January but we felt we needed individuals who did not have the mind-set that had set in already. The senior players we have brought to the club have been important on and off the pitch.
“That’s been important because there are a lot of good young players at the club but they need some guidance and to get some confidence.
“That doesn’t just come from the management; that has to come from fellow players to help on the park.”
“There is so much to play for now and the players will realise they need to perform between now and the Scottish Cup Final to have any chance of featuring at Hampden.”
“There is new belief among supporters over the past few weeks and I hope they see enough to get a belief in the people who are running their football team.