Pats first of three home matches in a week sees them compete in friendly terms against Hibernian FC of the Bank of Scotland Premier Division.
The Edinburgh club come to Richmond Park as they continue their pre-season preparations for the start of the 2005-06 campaign. Hibernian will be full of optimism after the past 14 months has seen a remarkable series of events for the Easter Road side. Tony Mowbray was unveiled as manager of Hibs at the end of the 2003-04 season, much to the astonishment of many as the former Celtic star's name having failed to feature on the lengthy list of candidates which grew throughout the five-week search for a successor to Bobby Williamson.
Many were sceptical about Mowbray's footballing philosophies, which concentrated on passing and creative play. This scepticism was heightened as it became evident that he would be relying on a young, inexperienced side to perform in Scotland's top flight.
However, Mowbray certainly confounded his critics as not only did Hibs finish in the top half of the Bank of Scotland Premier League table for the first time in four seasons but ended up third, a position which ensured UEFA Cup football in this coming season.
Such success brought international recognition for many, Derek Riordan, the first Hibs player to score more than 20 goals in a season for almost 20 years, his fellow striker Garry O'Connor (19 goals), and defenders Gary Caldwell and Ian Murray (now signed for Rangers) all called up to Walter Smith's Scotland set-up.
And to emphasise the youth within Mowbray's squad – it was not unusual to find 12 of the 18 who stripped for action on any given Saturday under the age of 21 – Steven Whittaker, Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Alistair Brown were part of Scotland's Under-21 squad while Shiels and Sam Morrow starred in the same age group for Northern Ireland.
We welcome Hibs to Ireland for the first time in twenty years and are sure that they will enjoy their visit. With five matches in the space of eight days, it looks like John McDonnell will combine his squad with a mixture of peripheral players and also several lesser-known faces. This could be the first chance for fans to see potential new signings pull on the Pats jersey as McDonnell looks to take full advantage of the opening of the transfer window.
Tickets are on sale for the Hibs match and the Hearts match on Sunday. Combined tickets (which cover both matches) are €20 adults and €10 concessions. Single tickets are also available priced at €15 adults and €7 concessions.
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