Cairney catches eye for Hibs
Manager Pat Fenlon hailed the creativity of Paul Cairney after Hibernian kept up their good SPL form by beating Dundee 3-0 on Saturday
Hibs were criticised for a lack of creativity, particularly in midfield - but they scored for the eighth successive game as they won at Easter Road to move to the top of the pile, although Celtic overtook them again on Sunday.
Cairney, signed from Partick in the summer, is proving to be the playmaking midfielder Hibs were crying out for all of last season.
A slaloming run and cross set up Eoin Doyle to head the hosts in front on 28 minutes before a late Cairney charge into the box brought about a clumsy challenge from Jim McAlister, with referee Willie Collum immediately pointing to the spot.
Griffiths converted the penalty but Cairney caught the eye and Fenlon said afterwards: "I thought he did all right.
"I don't think he was happy with his performance today, but most people have come up and said his performance was very good, and I think that shows the high standards he's set for himself.
"He's a good player and I think he's difficult to play against because he gets into decent areas.
"He's not an out-and-out wide man but he can get into little inside areas and he's been good for us since we got him in."
For the best part of the opening half hour it did not look like this contest would be so fruitful for the the home support.
Dundee came with a stifling 4-1-4-1 formation and pressed the hosts into sending the ball into wide areas.
But Cairney exited the field to a standing ovation in the 88th minute and the Easter Road faithful, so often exasperated with the team over the last two years, stayed behind to sing their heroes off the park as "That's Entertainment" played over the stadium PA system.
Yet Fenlon took particularly satisfaction from the clean sheet - their first in six competitive matches.
He said: "We talked about it. We said how important it was to get the three points but we've got to stop conceding as well.
"We look like we can score goals throughout the team so it's really important that we stop conceding as a team.
"I'm not just talking about our defence because our back four and our goalkeeper have been very good this season.
"We just need to be a little more clinical when we are clearing things and realising danger a bit quicker."
For Dundee boss Barry Smith, yesterday's defeat was less about the team and more about individuals.
His side played well in the first half and were unlucky not to be at least level going into the break. Instead, mistakes meant they were out of the match five minutes after the restart.
"It sounds crazy, but we thought we did okay in the first half," Smith said.
"We think we had the best two chances but we go in 1-0 down, and that's the story of the season so far.
"I don't think there is big difference between the majority of teams in this league.
"It'll be the teams that make the least mistakes and individual errors that win these games.
"Unfortunately it is us committing those errors."