BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Alan Stubbs insists new Hibernian signings Niklas Gunnarsson and Chris Dagnall can both be happy with their debuts after they were thrown straight in at the deep end at the weekend.
Stubbs chose a Scottish Cup tie away to Raith Rovers, just seven days on from a one-goal league victory over the same opposition, to give the new pair their first run-outs and was content with their performances.
On-loan Valerenga defender Gunnarsson started at right-back due to an injury to skipper David Gray, whilst Dagnall came in for the ill Jason Cummiings up front, although may have started even if Hibs’ top scorer had been fit.
And, although Gunnarsson had to be replaced 10 minutes into the second-half because of a lack of fitness, both recent recruits won praise from their manager.
Stubbs said: “It gives them an idea of what it’s like, straight away. From that point of view it’ll have done them the world of good.
“Niklas has been training but he hasn’t played a game for the best part of five weeks.
“Chris needed a week’s training and was getting better, and I thought he showed some nice touches. He was unlucky not to get on the score-sheet on Saturday.
“They can both be pleased with their debuts.”
Dagnall came close on a couple of occasions to a debut goal, with one late shot being deflected over and his header from the resultant corner being blocked on the line.
However, Stubbs is as impressed with the 29-year-old former Rochdale and Leyton Orient striker’s work-rate and defensive efforts.
Stubbs added: “Chris offers something different to the other strikers.
“He’s a really good finisher and, as a defender, you know that you’re in a game, because he’ll work you, without and without the ball.
“Defending always starts from the front and he gives us something different, with his work-rate in the forward line, to make it more difficult for opposition defenders to start against us.”