sport

Collins hails Hibernian spirit

James Collins thinks Hibernian's leveller against Partick is indicative of the "never say die" mentality brought to the club by Terry Butcher.

The former Aston Villa player acknowledges that under previous boss Pat Fenlon there is every chance the Hibees would have surrendered all three points following Kris Doolan's opener for the visitors.

But, while the Edinburgh club were far from fluent, they showed the requisite spirit and determination to rescue a draw in the dying embers of the encounter, with Collins smashing home his first goal since September 21 from close range.

"Sometimes things have to change, and things have changed here. The new mentality is a never say die attitude," said the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international.

"Saturday was a good way to show our character. We would possibly have lost that game in the past.

"Their keeper (Scott Fox) pulled off a couple of great saves earlier in the game and then we had the setback of conceding the goal.

"But our mentality now is that we will keep plugging away and thankfully we finally got the ball over the line in the 92nd minute, so it's a good point all round."

Having endured an underwhelming start to life at Hibs since arriving from Swindon in July, Collins is hopeful his dramatic leveller against Thistle will ignite his season.

Now with three goals for the season, the 22-year-old added: "Hopefully I can go on a run now and get a couple more.

"Strikers live and die on their goal record and if you are finding the net regularly then that is a great confidence boost."

Meanwhile, Doolan admits conceding a late equaliser diminished the joy of netting one of the finest goals of his career.

The 27-year-old opened the scoring in scintillating fashion, picking the ball up just inside the Hibs half, dancing past challenges from Jordon Forster and Paul Hanlon before clipping the ball over Ben Williams.

As he was substituted on the 90-minute mark, it seemed certain that his magical solo goal would hand the Jags their first Premiership win since October 20.

But he was watched on helplessly from the sidelines as Collins rescued a point for the hosts with almost the final kick of the contest.

"It was right up there with the best I have ever scored," said Doolan after registering his sixth goal of the campaign.

"I think when it comes from so far out - I was near the halfway line when I picked it up - then it has to go up there with my favourites.

"As a striker you want to be scoring goals and that breeds confidence. Hopefully that spreads through the team and we take the positives from Saturday.

"But the late equaliser does put a bit of a dampener on it. It is hard to take, but we will try to learn from it and be encouraged by the fact that over the 90 minutes we probably deserved to win the game.

"I thought we defended really well throughout, but we've just been hit by a sucker-punch at the end."