Tuesday, August 16, 2022
SportHibsHibs boss insists new striker should be judged on the pitch -...

Hibs boss insists new striker should be judged on the pitch – not by his Wikipedia page


Hibs boss Neil Lennon insists new striker Deivydas Matulevicius should be judged by what he does on the pitch – not by his Wikipedia page.

The Lithuanian internationalist became Lennon’s sixth summer recruit on Wednesday after penning a two-year deal in a switch from Belgian side Royal Mouscron.

While the club’s supporters are desperate for news over the much-publicised pursuit of Blackburn Rovers striker Anthony Stokes, Lennon insists 6ft 3in Matulevicius’ physical presence will be just as valuable as his goals.

(Pic: Twitter @HibsOfficial)

The 28-year-old netted four times in 16 outings for Mouscron last season but Lennon insists the forward’s scoring record is not his main strength.

Lennon, whose take on Ross County this evening in their second Betfred Cup clash, said: “I’m really pleased with David.

“We’ve basically been looking at him since we came in. When we knew he was going to become available then we pushed the button.

“He’s a target-man and he’s mobile. I wouldn’t say he’s prolific but if he was then he certainly wouldn’t be coming to play in Scotland with the attributes that he has.

“Anyone can go by Wikipedia pages and a lot of fans tend to do that, then make a decision on someone based on that. Wikipedia can hide a multitude of sins.

“I hope people judge him on his all-round game because what we’ve seen, we’ve liked.

“For the wages we pay, we also have to take that into consideration as well. He’s got good experience and he’s played at a very high level.

“I played with some really good ‘big’ strikers – like (Emile) Heskey, (Chris) Sutton, (John) Hartson – and they can make the difference at the top end of the pitch at times if you can’t get out or your being outplayed by teams.

“Grant Holt did a great job for me last year with his experience, know-how and physicality and we hope David will add the same sort of qualities.

“He has played in Romania. He has played in Belgium at quite a high standard.

“We live in a bubble. There are a lot of good teams in Eastern Europe and a lot of good individual players.

“Sometimes we dismiss these leagues because we are in a bubble here in Britain.”

While Lennon was pleased to conclude a deal for Matulevicius out of the public domain, the same cannot be said for his desire to bring back Scottish Cup hero Stokes.

Asked about the Irishman, Lennon, who refuted Wales striker Simon Church’s claim that he was was offered a deal, added: “No comment at all. I don’t know what the situation is with Anthony regarding Blackburn. He’s their player. We’re linked with a lot of players. A lot of stuff comes out of here that shouldn’t come out.

“That’s why it was pleasing to get David over the line in a non-fussy sort of way.

“I can’t keep commenting on speculation.

“You all know that we’re interested in certain players but until they’re in the building and signed then I can’t give a definitive answer on anyone.”

Lennon is still keen to reinforce his striking options but forward Simon Murray hopes he is in pole position to start the Premiership season as the team’s recognised striker after scoring two goals in the weekend’s 4-0 Betfred Cup victory over Montrose.

He said: “If you are playing well and scoring goals it’s in your own hands.

“The manager picks the team but he is going to pick a striker that’s scoring goals so if I can just concentrate on the way I am playing then hopefully it will be me that he picks.”

Related Stories