Pat FENLON will be hoping his players can put a few wins on the board in the remaining three league matches of the season which can give the squad a much-needed lift ahead of the Scottish Cup final.
Stringing a couple of victories together is really the only way of regaining your confidence out on the park and this is something I feel is currently lacking within the Hibs side.
The majority of footballers in today’s game do not receive any great enjoyment in playing meaningless fixtures, but this is not the case for Hibernian Football Club as the season draws to a close.
The players should use the next three league games as motivation to show the manager they are worth a starting slot at Hampden next month against Celtic. Of course, there are a couple of individuals who are certain to start the match, but Pat Fenlon will still be tinkering over the remaining places in his starting XI for the big game.
There will have been huge disappointment in the changing room in the aftermath of Saturday’s home draw with St Mirren. Taking just two points from our opening two fixtures in our bottom six is certainly not ideal in our quest to finish best of the rest, but failing to make use of home advantage has been a problem for the majority of the campaign. This is something we must look to rectify next season if we are to show any improvement with our current league position.
Scoring three goals at Easter Road and not taking all three points is something that cannot continue. It is difficult enough, at times, trying to get your nose in front in any fixture and when you do, being strong as a defensive unit is simply imperative. I suppose the only real positive to emerge from the St Mirren match was the fact that we did manage to hit the back of the opponent’s net on three separate occasions. With sterner tests ahead, none more so that next month’s showdown with Celtic, the fragility in the heart of the Hibs defence remains a big concern of mine.
Comments from an opposing manager about our performance against Aberdeen last Monday is just something the players and staff need to overlook. We have more pressing issues ahead of us than to become embroiled in a war of words with opposing teams and their staff. Pat Fenlon is experienced enough to handle such criticism and will appreciate the importance of keeping the mainstay of his team fresh in preparation for our trip along the M8.
Our second half showing at Hampden a couple of weeks ago against Falkirk demonstrated the manager has a few options up his sleeve with some of the younger players providing great promise. We all know what Celtic are capable of producing on their day, but we must not hide from the occasion when the time arrives. However, this is a one-off match and anything can happen. I am hoping that Pat Fenlon can throw something different into the mix that could upset our opponents in some way and lead us to the success we all crave.
On a final note, it was great to see our star striker Leigh Griffiths nominated last week for Scotland’s Player and Young Player of the Year awards. Griffiths’ displays have simply been outstanding this season where he took his tally to an impressive 27 goals at the weekend against the Paisley outfit. He is up against some stern competition in the likes of Motherwell’s Michael Higdon, who has also enjoyed a fantastic year himself, but I feel the Hibs player has shown more on the pitch than just his natural ability to find the back of the net. His all-round play has been excellent where he possesses the flair that puts supporters on the edge of their seats and has simply been a joy to watch.
However, I am sure there is only one accolade Leigh himself is concerned with and that is bringing home a cup winners’ medal, and with that, the Scottish Cup back to Leith.