Andrew Shinnie has admitted Hibs can’t continue to rely on Jason Cummings’ seemingly unsatiable appetite for goals as the Easter Road side seek to bounce back from losing their first Championship game of the season.
Cummings claimed his eighth goal in six league matches to give the Easter Road side the lead against Ayr United only for Neil Lennon’s players to be left stunned as the Somerset Park oufit hit back – after midfield enforcer Marvin Bartley was sent off – to score twice through Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour. Lennon was left bemoaning his side’s lack of ruthlessness in front of goal, the Hibs boss pointing out that, even although they’d won their previous five league games, they should have done so far more comfortably.
The importance of Cummings is highlighted by the fact he’s scored two thirds of Hibs’ Championship goals, Shinnie, Grant Holt and Brian Graham his only team-mates to have yet found the net and each of them just once, their tally of 12 completed by an own goal from Dunfermline’s Ben Richards-Everton.
The defeat by Ayr saw Hibs toppled from the top of the Championship table by Queen of the South, the Capital club’s next opponents as they travel to meet Gavin Skelton’s unbeaten side at Palmerston Park on Saturday.
Cummings, who boasts a highly-creditable record of 56 goals from 101 starts, will undoubtedly be regarded as Hibs’ greatest danger by Queens, who have their own hot-shot, former Easter Road striker Stephen Dobbie, bang in form with nine goals since returning for a second spell in Dumfries.
But, insisted Shinnie, he and his team-mates must start to ease the burden on Cummings’ shoulders. Lennon himself having admitted that for a 21-year-old he carries a great responsiblity in leading the line for Hibs.
Shinnie said: “Jason is on fire. He scored a brilliant goal against Ayr but we all need to help out. We can’t keep relying on Jason although he is doing the business for us at the moment. A few of us need to get more goals and kill games off.”