One word can describe Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home with Queen of the South and that word is – frustrating. I’m sure there are some other words that can describe some of the performance but frustrating seems to cover everything.
On a very chilly afternoon at Easter Road, 10,069 supporters turned up to watch Hibs take on Queen of the South with a win putting us level on points in the Championship.
Hibs line-up looked like this:
Perntreou, Gray, Hanlon, Fontaine, Harris, Craig (Cpt), Stevenson, Handling, S. Allan, Kennedy, Cummings. Substitutes: Combe, Booth, L. Allan, Crane, J. Sinclair, Heffernan, Stanton.
Hibs have a very depleted squad at the moment and our list of injuries grew with the news that at the end of the week that Dylan McGeouch and Scott Robertson would both be out. They join El Alagui, Forster and Oxley on the injury list and with Malonga away on international duty, Stubbs didn’t have a lot to work with in terms of choice. This led to Jason Cummings being the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 line-up.
It’s a formation that didn’t entirely work. Hibs certainly dominated throughout the match and while our defence was solid leaving Kleton Perntreou with very little to do, the forward section were just not up to it. QoS keeper Zander Clark gave Hibs several chances to score when he parried shots rather than collecting them but Hibs had no one there to knock the ball into the back of the net and you don’t win games by holding back. Annoying if it happens once but it happened many times during the match and it must be knocked on the head – take the chances.
Hibs did get a few shots in the general direction of the goal but some nice play to set up the shots was not rewarded as shots flew wide. Clark had a few saves to make but we should have scored, and more than once.
Queen of the South did turn up to play a defensive game and didn’t really look like a team that wanted three points from the game, fortunately because if they had won that would have stretched the gap between them and us. At the moment we have Raith Rovers nipping at our heels, only a point behind us after a 2-1 win at Stark’s Park.
The second half plodded on much like the first and frustration grew. Just on the hour Stubbs replaced Harris and Handling with Heffernan and Sinclair to give a bit of fresh energy to the team and at 69 minutes he replaced Cummings with Stanton. The team took on a slightly more attacking shape but it still wasn’t to be. Heffernan failing to knock in a pass from Gray seemed to sum up the whole afternoon.
It was a disappointed and frustrated crowd that left Easter Road just before five PM. After weeks of improvement Saturday’s match was certainly a step backwards.
Stubbs has work to do with the team before heading off to Dumbarton next Saturday. However, our squad was depleted with six players out and choice difficult. Those six players are a big miss to Hibs and that was clear during the 90 minutes on Saturday. Hibs still gained a point from the match but it seems more like we lost two.
Not all bad. Liam Fontaine is certainly growing on me. He’s becoming a solid part of the defensive line-up. Scott Allan, again showing some class in the midfield. I wouldn’t say it was his best game but he was still one of the best players on the park. Kleton Perntreou didn’t have much to do but good to see him keep a clean sheet on his starting debut and he’ll have gained confidence from the match. Lewis Stevenson continues to play well each week and Saturday was no different.
Very disappointing not to take all three points from the match, it was ours to win but for some poor play. Recent weeks have seen a decent side run out for Hibs and let’s just hope Saturday’s match was a blip rather than anything else. Hopefully Malonga will be back in the squad for next Saturday’s (22nd) trip to Dumbarton. Let’s hope our injured players are well on the mend and back training soon.
Frustration and disappointment all round, even Alan Stubbs couldn’t hide his disappointment in his post match interview with Hibs TV.
Annoying game but hopefully a kick up the rear-end that will see an improvement in the games to come.