Football - McPake hails Hibs win

Hibs skipper James McPake was delighted to finish the year off with a home win against a Celtic side he believes remain certainties for the title.

PA Sport

On-loan striker Leigh Griffiths netted his 14th goal of the season as Hibs prepared for the Edinburgh derby against Hearts at Tynecastle on January 3 in fine fashion.

After just four points from their previous seven games, McPake said: "We needed points. It wasn't about getting the scalp of Celtic, it was about three points, especially at home because we had let the form slip a bit. That was the big thing for us.

"The derbies are probably the biggest games of the season for Hibernian and for them. So it is going to be a great occasion and brilliant for both sets of fans and we are going into it high in confidence.

"I think we handled Celtic quite well. I think we created the better chances. Any team will have a go when they are 1-0 down and Celtic have more quality than most but we were big and strong and as a team we defended brilliantly so there are a lot of positives to take from the game."

Pat Fenlon, who described the result as the biggest since he became Easter Road boss just over a year ago, now hopes to keep Griffiths and fellow loan stars Ryan McGivern and Jorge Claros beyond next month.

"We will probably sit down on Monday or Tuesday," he said. "We are anxious to keep all three.

"Jorge is a good player and we want to keep him. Ryan had a tight hamstring (which kept him out) but he has been a fantastic signing while Leigh has scored a lot of goals.

"We can only do so much. The board is sometimes criticised when it comes to keeping players but we are doing as much as we can in relation to Leigh and the other two and at the end of the day it probably will not be our decision, it will be the clubs to whom the players are contracted."

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