Hibs say they 'recognise rebuilding task' for Pat Fenlon

Fenlon leaves the Hampden pitch with food for thought
Fenlon leaves the Hampden pitch with food for thought

Hibernian say the size of the 5-1 defeat by city rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup final emphasised the need to rebuild Pat Fenlon's squad.

The club have issued a statement thanking the fans who endured one of their most painful derby defeats.

"The board and manager recognise that the nature of Saturday's defeat reinforces the scale of the task that faces us in rebuilding the squad in preparation for next season," it said.

A host of players are out of contract.

Fenlon steered Hibs off the bottom of the Scottish Premier League after making seven loan signings in January, but they still only finished 11th of the 12 teams as they avoided relegation at Dunfermline's expense.

James McPake, Roy O'Donovan, Matt Doherty, Tom Soares, Leigh Griffiths, George Francomb and Richie Towell were all at Easter Road temporarily until the end of the season.

Goalkeepers Graham Stack and Mark Brown, striker Garry O'Connor and midfielder Ian Murray, who has missed much of the season with hip trouble, are all out of contract.

Brown was beaten five times at Hampden and is now out of contract
Brown was beaten five times at Hampden and is now out of contract

Fenlon has indicated that he would like to retain defender McPake, whose performances since arriving from Coventry City have led to a call-up to the Northern Ireland squad.

And striker Griffiths is open to a return to Easter Road should he find that he does not have a future back at Wolves, who were relegated to the Championship and have appointed Stale Solbakken as boss.

"I've not had any discussions yet, but I'll go back down to Wolves and see what the new manager has to say," he said.

"If he doesn't want me then I'll need to look at my options.

"Every Hibs fan knows that I'm a Hibs fan too. If the opportunity arises to join on a permanent deal, I'd love to do it.

"But, for the moment, I will prepare to return to Wolves for pre-season training."

However, Griffiths admits that he and defender Matt Doherty, also on loan from Wolves, will not have impressed the club's representative at Hampden.

Brown is also uncertain about his future, despite having ended the season as number one thanks to an injury to Stack.

"I'll need to speak to the club in the next few days to see what's happening," said the 31-year-old.

However, he said that the contract was less important than the feeling of despair left by missing out on being the first Hibs team to lift the cup in 110 years - and in the first Edinburgh derby final since 1896.

"We knew the history, but it was a great chance to try to re-write history, but some days it isn't your day," added Brown.

"This is probably the lowest. Cup finals don't come around too often.

"We went into the game thinking we might have a chance of winning the cup, but unfortunately Hearts proved to be the better team and were deserved winners."

Top Stories