Never particularly like to start a Hibs blog with comments about refereeing but I am this time. Nick Walsh had an absolute nightmare of a game on Wednesday evening at Easter Road. Completely inconsistent throughout the entire match and then, in injury time, Kudus Oyenuga took out Jordon Forster in a complete leg-breaker of a tackle. Seconds later, Darren McGregor comes over to him. Now, Nick Walsh is standing in between McGregor and Oyenuga when the heads came together, in a “let’s go then” challenge, not a headbutt. However, Oyenuga decided to play for a BAFTA, took a moment to think and held his head and fell down.
After the following melee (Jim Duffy tried to square go Lennon and there were various other comings together) Nick Walsh red cards Oyenuga for the death tackle and then McGregor for violent conduct. PARDON?
How can he stand there and watch that scenario and say it’s a straight red for McGregor? This just underlines the state of refereeing in Scottish football. No doubt, across the leagues there are many good referees but the standard of refereeing being set by the top flights of the SPFL is shocking.
Yes, referee’s have a split second to make a decision…or do they? Because they can consult with their linesmen (gave up calling them assistants a long time ago), if it’s something the linesman might have seen better. Walsh shouldn’t have had to though, he was standing right there!
The footage has since been released and Nick Walsh should have a red face. Hopefully that red card gets over-turned because if it doesn’t then we’re in a bad place regarding violent conduct decisions.
Neil Lennon getting pelters on social media by many people but guess what? I can’t argue with why he was angry Wednesday night. His player gets taken out in a tackle that could have snapped a leg. It gets a bit heated and suddenly he’s got Duffy and half the Morton staff in HIS technical area wanting to get at him. He’s said himself, he’s not going to back down. It’s not the ideal scene for a football match but Lennon is going to stick up for himself and his players in his way. Now he’ll face the consequences of that, probably a ban and maybe a fine, but, despite being critical of him before, I have taken to him. I understand his frustration and it came out in this match in a bad way but it came out in a good way on Saturday when Keats scored 90+2 against Falkirk. He takes a bit of getting used to, I’ll admit that, but no one can deny his passion. He’s a Hibs man now. He’s a man who has had to fight for who he is and had to fight against the filth he encountered before. He’s what we need. A fighter.
Onto the game and here’s where I will be critical of Lennon (don’t tell him though). Our tactics are getting a bit stale and teams are reading it and reading it very well. Morton, aside from their thuggery, were able to guess what we were going to do. We need to be a bit more clever, we need to get the ball on the deck, but other teams are keeping it aloft because they know as soon as we get it on the deck we’re going to play it and play it well.
Our shot taking has gone for a long walk and not returned yet. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, lump it in, right into the goalies hands. Or pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, get it taken off us.
Whatever is going on here Hibs, we need to sort it before the semi-final. Wednesday nights result didn’t do us any harm in the league, I doubt there will be any resurgance from either Falkirk or Morton going by the last two games but we need to take a deep breath and let the football flow again. Yeah, other teams are going to frustrate us by playing frustratingly. We need to frustrate them by playing football. It’s really quite simple.
I will admit to sitting in the stands (that terminology is part of the reason we love football) thinking that I have forgotten just how frustrating Hibs can be to watch until Wednesday night. They are frustrating, or more to the point, other teams are making them frustrating. We need to change our play a bit, particularly when we go up. Most folk will realise that but we can’t be so easy to guess. Not if we want to contend.
Taking a step back and looking at our season, we’ve come a long way but there is still so much to be done. There are a few players that are not going to come with us next season. It’s unfair to mention them at this moment as everyone will have their own opinion as to who should be in the squad next season but there are players in our squad who are premiership players and there are players who aren’t and that’s football.
Next match is Dunfermline on April Fools day, no jokes please Hibs!