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Monday 11 December 2017

Doyle takes heart from sinking Celts

Hibs striker itching to face derby rivals after seeing off champions

EOIN DOYLE finished 2012 in style with a win over Celtic and has city rivals Hearts in sight for the first game of 2013.

Top scorer Leigh Griffiths netted after nine minutes to give the home side full points with Doyle twice coming close to adding to that lead as the Edinburgh side enjoyed their first win over Celtic in four years.

Beating Celtic is a great accolade for Pat Fenlon's side but local bragging rights are at stake on Thursday night when they visit Tynecastle for the third derby of the season.

The soft touches that Fenlon inherited last season have been replaced with a more resilient outfit who have yet to lose to Celtic or Hearts in four matches this season. "Celtic are a cut above everyone else but we've proved by beating them that we are a good side," Doyle stated.

"That put us in a good frame of mind for Thursday, and I'm sure Hearts will be a bit nervous about it. It's a derby game and these are the ones you want to play in. Motivation doesn't come into it and I'm sure we can put in a good performance.

"The Celtic game was a good one and now we're looking for another victory against Hearts on Thursday.

"Hopefully we can kick on from here. I think the last few games have been disappointing, but we showed a bit of fire. We were compact and showed good desire to see the result out.

"The lack of consistency is disappointing, but we were going through a rough patch at the start of the season and then drew 2-2 at Parkhead and that was the start of a great run for us. Hopefully this will inspire us again to go on a run."

Doyle had a couple of chances to add to the scoring but wasn't losing any sleep over failing to add to the eight SPL goals he's scored this season.

"I've been in reasonably good scoring form in recent weeks and would be more worried if I wasn't getting chances," he added.

"I had a couple of chances but the most important thing is that we picked up three points.

"There was a header in the first half that I thought might be costly, the ball came over, hit my face, bounced off my chest then into the 'keeper's hands which was a bit of a nightmare. If the same chance comes up again I'm confident that I'll put it away."

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 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 fantastic, while Leigh has scored a lot.

"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."

Fenlon is hopeful of having McGivern back for the trip to Gorgie. He said: "McGivern has a chance for Tynecastle. He just felt a little bit sore after the Ross County game but there is no tear so we will treat him and see how he is over the next two or three days."

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