Hello and welcome to a new football season. I took a short break from writing about Hibs because while there was no football there was the usual flap about signing new players. The usual rumours and “in the know”. Just not worth writing about.
I also took a break because, after twenty odd years with one company, I moved to another job and this meant different hours and a period of settling in.
So, Friday night Hibs played their second BetFred League Cup group game up in Dingwall. Due to work commitments I only saw a little bit of the first half and all of the second half and we’re pretty good. Yes, we’re still needing something else up front, something isn’t right there but otherwise we’re in good shape. County might have won in the end (more on that in a minute) but Hibs bossed them. All we lacked was a goal.
Simon Murray has had his critics and still will but he proved himself on Friday night in all aspects apart from scoring a goal but he wasn’t alone in that. Hibs had several chances but didn’t score and in the end that done for us.
Overall we good and any further signings will boost that. At the moment we appear to be looking at another looking at another Lithuanian signing, midfielder Vykintas Slivka. This follows the signing of Lithuanian striker Deivydas Matulevicius. Anthony Stokes is in the mix again with the club having offered him a firm offer, according to Neil Lennon so we’ll see where that goes. Stokes seems to have left Blackburn so not sure where else he could go with Hibs openly stating that we want him.
Back to league cup. The new format is in it’s second year and I’m not sure I like it. Yes, it’s great seeing Hibs again so soon, don’t get me wrong about that, but I just don’t like it. Mostly because of the way the games are ended with penalties if it’s a draw. I understand the need to want to finish the game on the day but what’s wrong with a bit of extra time first? I know, I’m a stuffy traditinionalist when it comes to things like this. Sometimes changes are needed to freshen things up. I just don’t like this straight into penalties thing. It feels like I’m being short-changed somehow.
Yes, it brings summer football in July, which is nice. It just means a very short off season. Teams that have made numerous changes to their squads have less time to gel, but, I suppose they also have more competitive matches before the league season starts, which is good. Then there is the argument that a good manager will have that team gelled and ready.
One positive I can see about the group stage is that even though Ross County beat us through penalties we’re not out of the competition so that can only be a good thing though we have a lot of work to do to qualify from the group.
One thing that hasn’t worked is the attendances. At Easter Road on Saturday 15th July the attendance for the Montrose game was 5,226 and I’m guessing there weren’t many travelling support to be included in that number. Friday nights attendance in Dingwall was 2,065 with 576 travelling Hibees.
According to the SPFL article from 2015 announcing the change in format, Neil Doncaster said that, amongst other things, they had responded to fans who expressed a desire to see summer football. So, Mr Doncaster, is the money the clubs are receiving from BT Sports enough to justify opening up stadiums and the running cost of a match day worth it?
Hibs play Arbroath at home on Tuesday 25th at 19:45. I’m intending on going but working until eight and I can’t see a mid-week game against Arbroath pulling in the crowds.
Anyway, Hibs are looking good and that’s the main thing. I’d like to see Oli Shaw get more time in the games. Forget Friday night, penalties are added pressure. Lennon seems to have seen something in the lad and he should give him his chance on the pitch, I’m not saying a start, not yet but more than four minutes. Give him half an hour at the end. He won’t disappoint.
Season Ticket sales have gone through the roof and the sales are still going on. I had a panic the other day because I thought I’d lost mine but then realised I’d already put it in my purse!
Here’s to the start of another season and now we’re back where we belong – in the Premier League.