Defender celebrates 300 Hibs appearances – and targets his first for Scotland

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Hibernian defender Paul Hanlon celebrated amassing 300 appearances for the Leith club, but admits he would be happy with just his first for Scotland.

Nearly nine years after making his debut for in a 3-0 victory over Inverness, the dependable centre-half reached the impressive milestone in last weekend’s draw at Morton.

At just 26-years-old, Hanlon is likely to rack up many more centuries of outings in his career and the Edinburgh-born player admits he is also desperate to fulfil an ambition of playing for his country.

Hanlon is part of a Hibs rearguard that has the meanest defence in British football, with Neil Lennon’s side having conceded only nine Ladbrokes Championship goals this season.

Fraser Fyvie and Darren McGregor have tipped their team-mate for international recognition and Hanlon admits being called up by Scotland would be an honour.

He said: “It is nice to hear people talking about me playing for Scotland, I saw Daz said it in the paper the other day and it’s good to have my mates sticking up for me.

“But it’s honestly not something I worry about or think about too much. There’s too much to think about with Hibs and trying to do well here.

“If it comes along then I would be delighted and it’s something I would be really proud of but I’m not worrying about it or going into games thinking ‘I need to do well if I’m going to get in the Scotland squad’.

“If you were a manager who had a player in the English Championship and one in the Scottish Championship, then it is easier to pick the one in the English championship because it is a much higher level to play at.

“But all I can do is try to do my best to get Hibs out the Championship and into the Premiership. That is my main aim and I’m just trying to play well every week.”

Hanlon, who helped the club end 114 years of Scottish Cup heartache in May’s memorable Hampden victory over Rangers, admits he cherishes his appearance record for Hibs.

He added: “It’s nice to reach these milestones. I am quite young to do it so I am delighted.

“It does mean something, it is good to get to 300 games and when I made my debut, if you had said to me that I would play 300 by the time I was 26, I would have thought that was brilliant.

“Not many play that number for one club but not even that, there are some people who will not get to 300 in their whole career.

“It is great to play so many games. Hopefully I will have many more appearances to come.

“I’ve only got one red card in those games as well. It was for a handball on the line (against Inverness in 2010). I am quite proud of that record.”

Hanlon, meanwhile, insists the signing of midfielder Kris Commons on a month-long loan from Celtic is a statement of intent as Hibs look to build a lead over Dundee United at the Championship summit.

Scotland cap Commons made his debut at Cappielow last Saturday just 24 hours after making the move east.

Hanlon said: “That’s definitely it, it’s a statement signing. It’s going to add massive quality to the squad and we’ve got a lot of players that can all play in that position as well.

“He’s been great, you can see his quality right away. I think he’ll be a great addition to the squad.

“Even in the Morton game I thought he’d tire a lot quicker. I think it’s eight months ago he last played a competitive game – that’s incredible. I would feel off the pace after two weeks.

“That’s the one thing, when our team goes up on their wall and they see Commons is playing, they’ll be like, ‘we better be on our game’.

“It’s a great thing to have in our team, that was the way I felt when you were going to Parkhead or they were coming to Easter Road, ‘Commons is playing, we need to keep an eye on him’.

“Hopefully that will work in our favour.”

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