The Sunday Post (Inverness)

If Joe shuts his eyes and scores a rare goal today, he admits he’ll go into shock


Joe Newell would love to help Hibs end Rangers’ unbeaten run in the league this afternoon.

And if he could hit the net, that would be the cherry on the cake for the midfielder.

The 28-year-old admits he hasn’t scored often enough during his time with the Easter Road side.

He only has one goal in 33 appearance­s this season.

His all-round game has been good enough to earn a fresh two-and-a-halfyear deal with the Hibees, but he hopes to contribute more.

He said: “I know I need to try to add more goals to my game.

“It will obviously help the team if I can pitch in with five league goals a season.

“Scoring the winner at Ibrox would be right up there.

“I don’t think I’d even celebrate. I’d just be shocked, the way things have been going.

“Going forward, that’s definitely something I’ll be trying to work on. But at the minute, I’m maybe going to start shutting my eyes, shooting, and praying it goes in!

“I’m close to giving up, to be honest – the ball just isn’t going in!

“I’ve never really been one for targets, that might be more of a striker thing. “My position is more all-round, so you’re trying to pitch in wherever you can.

“I played up front when I was a kid, but even in the academy and youth teams, I played centre-midfield and was never really a goalscorer.”

Newell can perhaps take some inspiratio­n from team-mate Kevin Nisbet (inset).

The striker has scored 14 times this term and that helped earn him a first Scotland cap.

His attitude to missing chances is something the Englishman admires.

Newell continued: “A big thing with Kevin is his mental strength, his selfbelief and his confidence.

“You see that in his play. If he misses, he doesn’t care. He’ll shoot again. That’s a great quality to have in a striker.

“His all-round play is very good. He can do everything you’d want a striker to do, be it linking, running in behind, working hard, or his finishing.

“He’s been brilliant for us this year, and I really hope he gets into the Euros squad because he deserves it.

“He’s been one of the best strikers in the country.”

If Hibs are to beat Rangers at Ibrox today, it’s more likely it will be Nisbet, not Newell, providing the main goal threat.

Regardless of who may or may not score, Hibs are hoping to secure a thirdplace finish and a victory would help bring that closer.

Newell said: “It’s massive for us. Rangers have had an unbelievab­le season.

“They’ve been brilliant and thoroughly deserve the title. But you’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to go there and break their unbeaten season. “That’s something we all want to do.

“We’re in good form and I don’t think the fact that the title’s wrapped up, and they’re playing for nothing, will really affect them.

“Their standards are that high that they’ll be good and competitiv­e regardless. It should be a good game.”

It’s clear that Newell is loving his time in Scottish football. He was happy to commit his future to Hibs, but his life in football hasn’t always been as successful.

He smiles when recalling a spell at Rotherham United under veteran boss Neil Warnock.

He said: “He came in, worked his magic, we stayed up – and then he left! “He was great to work with, but I missed a chance when we were 1-0 down away to Burnley with 10 minutes to go.

“He pulled me into his office to tell me I would be on the bench for the rest of the season.

“He said I would be first off the bench every week, and that if it had been the start of the season, I would be in the team.

“The way we were playing, I wouldn’t be getting many minutes.

“I had to respect his honesty. He’s a great bloke, and it was fun to work with him.”

 ??  ?? Hibs midfield star Joe Newell
Hibs midfield star Joe Newell
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