Hughes offers Riordan support
John Hughes has offered Derek Riordan his backing after the striker did not make the Scotland squad.
Last Updated: 30/09/10 5:22pm
Hibernian manager John Hughes has offered Derek Riordan his backing after the striker did not make the Scotland squad.
Scotland boss Craig Levein omitted the three-cap frontman from his party to face Czech Republic and Spain in the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Riordan has often been perceived as a gifted player who does not work as hard as others but Hughes insists he pulls his weight for Hibs.
The Hibs boss believes Riordan, who has netted three goals in four games so far this term, including a sublime chip against Celtic on Saturday whilst playing as a lone striker, must keeping working hard at his game.
He said: "I think he has shown form, goalscoring form too.
"He has certainly come into Craig's thoughts.
Door will open
"He just needs to keep doing what he's doing for Hibs and scoring goals, and I'm sure the door will open again for him."
Hughes first encountered Riordan as a youngster when both played for Hibs and he feels his former team-mate has matured in recent times.
"He works very hard at his game," Hughes said. "We're finished training and Derek is still out there shooting and practising.
"My concern on Saturday was playing Derek as a lone striker, and I felt he worked his socks off.
"I was delighted he got a goal to go with all the hard work, realising you can score goals, work hard and play your part for the team.
"Derek knows that every game he needs to put his shoulder to the wheel.
"And I've seen that, I've had no complaints with Derek Riordan since I've come to the club.
"In fact, it's the opposite, I've been impressed with his attitude and commitment.
"He is back-tracking, putting tackles in, winning headers, and he just needs to do more of that. The goals will come as well."
But Hughes added: "The thing about Derek, it's a fine balance.
"You ask him to do all that and you're taking him out of areas where he's at his best, and that's in the final third.
"Sometimes you have to make sure you set your team up accordingly and let Derek do his bit of business in the final third."