Trips to face teams from the lower divisions are often dangerous encounters for visiting Premier League clubs.
Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie at Cowdenbeath proved to be no different with Hibs having to produce a battling performance to progress through to the next round.
I am quite sure the ‘Blue Brazil’ would have been relishing the fixture since the draw was made and sharing a belief that an upset was a real possibility. Thankfully, there was no fairytale outcome for the Division Two leaders.
The final result is what’s important in any cup tie and thankfully Hibs managed to grind out a positive outcome.
The performance was comprehensive enough to secure us victory but we must look to build on this and instil some much-needed confidence to the squad.
The players were able to handle the occasion well, despite conceding so early in the match and show a resilience to turn the match around in favour of the green and white.
There was additional pressure on the players to produce after defeat in the Edinburgh derby last week and, to their credit, they delivered.
Like any Hibs supporter, I would like nothing more than a good run in the Scottish Cup and the unique atmosphere it brings on the day of the match. It is fair to say we have suffered a lot of heartache in this competition over the years and it is something I am constantly reminded of every time the draw comes around.
On speaking to former players and managers of the club, no-one seems to be able to put their finger on why we have failed to deliver cup glory in this particular competition, but success is most certainly long overdue.
I do believe we have possessed squads in the past capable of going all the way but for some reason we have failed to produce despite the odds being in our favour. But we must continue to live in hope that one day the trophy cabinet at Easter Road will contain the prize we probably most all desire.
Cup football always produces a nice change from the rigours of the SPL and it can bring a change in fortune for the club.
In my day, Hibs used to take us for a two-day trip to Peebles Hydro or Stirling University in preparation for cup fixtures. It was something a wee bit different and provide a break from the day-to-day league routine. The eight-a-side games we used to play the day before were always hugely competitive and you could sense the anticipation amongst the squad. The intensity in those training matches could occasionally boil over but respect for each other always remained.
As pleasing as it was to secure our place in the fifth round, it is now time for the players to turn their attention to claiming some points in the league which will hopefully ease our relegation fears over the next month or so.
With this in mind, we travel to Dunfermline on Saturday where victory is paramount. Should we find ourselves leaving Fife having suffered defeat then our fight to avoid relegation will be staring at us straight in the face.
It is quite remarkable that with so many games to be played between now and May that this weekend’s fixture holds such importance for both sides. Dunfermline got it tactically spot on when they visited Easter Road earlier in the season and secured a 1-0 victory. However, it would be fair to acknowledge they have found their first season back in the top-flight a bit of a struggle and the appear far from convincing.
With Hibs currently one point better off at the bottom of the league, I expect the Pars to attack, which could provide Hibs with plenty of opportunities to test their goalkeeper.