The early stages of a new season can often throw up some interesting results with players still trying to find their feet at this level. Hibs’ accumulation of points is the most important aspect to take from the opening few fixtures, something we failed to do at the beginning of last season and look how our season developed from then on.
Since our below-par performance at Tannadice on the opening day of the season, we have managed to show a bit of grit and determination and victory over St Mirren was the perfect remedy for our previous woes. There is little doubt when having to reconstruct a new side, like Pat Fenlon has had to do over the summer, that winning football matches can go a long way to building a strong mentality. Last weekend’s derby with Hearts seems to have kick-started our season and we took that hunger and passion into Saturday’s victory in Paisley.
St Mirren is notoriously a difficult venue for visiting teams as their supporters are more than capable of unnerving the opposition. You only have to look back to 2010 when Celtic were comprehensively defeated 4-0 by the Buddies, a result that ultimately cost Tony Mowbray his job in the Celtic hotseat. Great credit must therefore go to the players for coming away with all three points and a it is the kind of result that we can really look to build on.
We had several players on form in Saturday’s victory but once again Leigh Griffiths has come up trumps with two clinical strikes and proved how possessing a natural goal scorer within the side can be such a vital attribute.
However, I would have to agree with the manager’s previous comments that Griffiths, at times, has to play his own game and not let the occasion get to him. But for the moment, the striker is most certainly doing his talking on the park as he currently sits joint-top in the scoring charts with three goals in as many games. His passion for the club cannot be disputed and, as he matures with age, I am sure he will allow his natural ability to fully take control.
There will be times when the players aren’t performing at their peak but the importance of collecting three points cannot be undermined, especially at such an early stage of the season. Of course supporters crave entertainment and fast-flowing football but the fear of becoming marooned at the bottom end of the league is something we don’t want a repeat of this year.
We face St Johnstone at home on Saturday and it is a match we can approach with confidence. I am sure Pat Fenlon will be reinforcing the message to his players that victories on our own turf can be a platform for a good season to evolve. The surroundings of Easter Road are one of the most attractive in the SPL and I believe visiting teams will look forward to playing at such a venue.
We all know that the style we have become accustomed to as Hibernian supporters is attacking teams with flair. But, as I mentioned earlier, gathering victories is the name of the game. Even some of the top teams in world football fail to click on the park in the early stages of a season but improvement on a weekly basis is what counts.
It was good to see our eighth signing of the summer completed at the end of last week, with the experienced Shefki Kuqi arriving to bolster our strike force. I believe he could prove to be a very valuable addition to the squad, chipping in with a few goals of his own but also assisting in the development of the younger players we have at the club.
“It’s refreshing to see the majority of those who have been brought in commit their futures to the club and not having to rely on short-term loan deals. I am sure a couple of more acquisitions before the end of the month will stand us in good stead, providing competition for places but also improving the overall quality.”