Hibs striker Eoin Doyle today admitted Pat Fenlon’s stars need to “turn in some big performances” after hitting a rough patch which has seen them win just one of the last seven SPL matches.
The Easter Road side lost their third successive league game at home as a Richard Brittain goal earned top-flight newcomers Ross County a second win of the season over the Edinburgh outfit.
Although Hibs remain in fourth place, the gap between them and leaders Celtic has suddenly widened to a yawning 12 points, with just three separating them from Capital rivals Hearts in ninth place.
Now, having taken just four points out of a possible 21 and only one from the first two games of their hectic festive schedule, Hibs face two huge challenges as Celtic visit Easter Road this weekend before Fenlon takes his players across the city to face Hearts on January 3.
But while insisting he and his team-mates will be “at it” in both those fixtures, Irishman Doyle admitted that despite enjoying the bulk of possession against the Staggies, Fenlon’s side hadn’t done nearly enough to earn themselves the three points.
He said: “I think we were on top for the majority of the game, they got a half-chance and took it and that kind of knocked the wind out of our sails a bit. However, I don’t think we penetrated enough to go on and push and get the result we wanted. It’s frustrating in this busy schedule.”
Ryan McGivern twice provided inviting crosses as Hibs went for an equaliser only to see Doyle, with three goals in his previous two games, head one over the bar and then top scorer Leigh Griffiths nod the second into the arms of goalkeeper Mark Brown.
Doyle said: “I lost it in the lights for a split-second and that threw me off. It’s not an excuse, as a striker that should be bread and butter for me. I was disappointed in myself to be honest.”
Hibs boss Fenlon suggested his players may have taken the foot off the gas in recent weeks following a highly promising start to the season and while agreeing that may be the way it looks, 25-year-old Doyle added: “To me personally I do not feel like that. We all want to keep pushing on and do the best we can to get the club back high up the table.
“It’s not over yet. It’s still early, we are at halfway and not in the worst possible position. It’s still very tight and, as I have said before, back-to-back wins and you are right up there. We have to put in big performances in the next few games.”
Having remained unbeaten at home until the end of last month, Doyle admitted it was particularly frustrating to see that record well and truly smashed, saying: “Obviously we are going through a little bit of a rough patch at the minute. Going away to Kilmarnock and drawing was a decent point although we felt we were the better team and but are starting to lose games at home and that’s not good.
“We were unbeaten at home for ages, I think we had the best record after Celtic so it’s disappointing to be losing games at home, that’s where you really want to win for the fans.
“Now we have a couple of big games coming up, but these are the games you want to play in. We will be at it on the day and hopefully we can pick up some positive results.”