Saturday was a bit of a downer if you happen to be a Hibernian fan. A lacklustre display in Falkirk, from both sides, ended with Falkirk getting a very late goal from skipper David McCracken and Hibs had no time to recover, the final whistle blowing shortly after. It ended Hibs unbeaten run which is probably what makes it more difficult to take.
Head coach Alan Stubbs said in his post match interview that the game had 0-0 written all over it and that would have been fair result with the points shared, but it wasn’t to be. He also warned the team that the performance wasn’t good enough and they had to respond positively. With Farid el Alagui a spectator in the stands and most of the team spectators on the pitch, Stubbs rightly aired his disappointment.
“Overall, I’m disappointed, but we need to remember we have been on a decent run and the most important thing now is that the team react in the right way and take it out on Alloa next week at home.
“The lads have been great and have done really well, but if they ever needed to be reminded that if they dip below the necessary standards we set then we run the risk of results of like that.
“So they have to learn and learn quickly – if they don’t then they know what will happen.
“I think to really hit them hard after what they’ve done recently would be harsh. They’ve been told it wasn’t acceptable, but we put it to bed and move on to next week against Alloa.”
The key thing to remember though, it’s one game. Stubbs has said his piece to the players and hopefully they’ll respond positively to that and next week we’ll see the Hibs that we’ve been used to over recent weeks. More so in away matches but it’s about time to shake off the home hoodoo and give the fans that feel good feeling that hasn’t really been felt at home consistently enough.
It’s typical that Hibs would finish a fantastic week which saw the very successful calendar signing on Tuesday, included some carol singing and a Christmas light switch on, with a loss on Saturday afternoon. That’s the trouble with us sometimes, we raise the positivity and then fail to live up to it.
However, as I wrote above, it’s one game. Though, if it spreads to Alloa at home on the 13th and Raith away on the 20th then there’s some re-thinking needing to be done, particularly as we head into two heavy matches against Rangers and then Hearts.
I, personally, find it difficult to lay blame on individual players. Everyone’s hearts stopped when Oxley mishandled the ball in the Scottish Cup game against Alloa and the ball trickled into the net. The team rallied round and did what every team should do, cancel out that error and get the win and that’s what Hibs did that day. It doesn’t make Oxley a bad ‘keeper either. Since that day I’ve seen Mignolet, Schmeichel, and Guzan make errors that have given the opposition goals. It’s football, it happens and it’s up to the entire team to work together to make sure that the error doesn’t count at the end of the match.
The same if a player scores an own goal. It’s annoying, frustrating but if the team rallies round it should be cancelled.
In some positive news, Jordon Forster is training and will hopefully be back in the team soon. Farid el Alagui got the all clear to begin running again signalling that he’s on his way back, hopefully early in the new year. Dylan McGeouch could also return before the end of the year as his recovery continues as well.
In other Hibernian news, the Developmental squad has been giving us cause for joy. Joe McBride seems to have injected some spirit into the squad and they’ve been on an unbeaten run of now, eleven games in all competitions.
Tuesday night (2nd December) saw the Under 20’s in SPFL Developmental League evening action against Partick Thistle at one of our home grounds, Ainslie Park. The 4-2 win saw Sam Stanton score a hat-trick and Matt Kennedy score the other. The win puts us fourth in the league but on joint points (22) with Kilmarnock and St Mirren.
Sunday afternoon (7th December) saw Scottish FA Youth Cup action for the Under 20’s versus Kilmarnock Under 20’s. The action took place at Easter Road, where it rightly should. There was no scoring in the first half and moments after the restart Kilmarnock took the lead. Hibs wouldn’t leave it long before levelling though and the final result was 3-1 to Hibs with goals for Taylor Hendry, Aaron Dunsmore and Neil Martyniuk who scored from the spot. Hibs had another penalty moments from the end but Neil Martyniuk had his shot saved. The win puts the team into the fifth round of the SFA Youth Cup.
All in all a good week for the Under 20’s who are back in action on Tuesday night through in Falkirk with a 7pm kick off.
Alloa at home for the first team next Saturday (13th December) at 3pm and we really do need to pull it out the bag. They’ll be looking for revenge for the cup game. Big match for Hibs. I’m sure they can do it. They’ll be hoping to prove that they can.