John McGinn is desperate to rediscover his best form as he bids to help Championship leaders Hibs pull away from the chasing pack in the coming months.
The midfielder was the Easter Road side’s star player last season, but he admits he hasn’t yet found the level of consistency he is looking for this term.
Manager Neil Lennon feels McGinn is being slightly hindered by a niggling ankle problem which may need surgery if it deteriorates, but this hasn’t stopped the 22-year-old impressing in his team’s recent victories over Dunfermline and St Mirren.
The Scotland internationalist, however, still feels he has plenty more to bring to the table. “I wouldn’t say I’ve moved up a notch this season because I’m still learning and trying to implement new things into my game,” said McGinn. “I don’t think I’ve hit peak form yet this season – there’s still a lot more to come. I’ve put in a few good performances and a few that are not so good, so I’m looking to find consistency again and get back to my best.”
Hibs travel to Somerset Park today intent on making it three wins in a row against Ayr United. The league leaders are three points clear of a Dundee United side who have won their last three matches, and McGinn is hopeful that they have now banished any negative effects of a five-game run without a win in all competitions.
“We were going through a little blip,” he said of a period when Hibs had players sent off in three of their five winless matches. “It wasn’t a particularly bad spell because we only lost one league game, but we’ve shown in the last two games that if we can keep 11 men on the pitch that we can get results. When you’re playing for a big club like Hibs, everyone craves success.
“If you’re in a division you shouldn’t be in, and you’re not winning games in it, then you’re going to get criticism. We’re fully aware of that. If we’re not performing, the criticism is expected and it’s deserved. We won’t moan about that. Two years ago there were three scalps in the league, with Hearts, Hibs and Rangers. Last year it was us and Rangers. Everybody raises their game against you.
“This year, we’ve been the main scalp although Dundee United are probably finding it a bit as well. It’s not easy. Our opponents love coming to play against us. We need to be wary of the fact most teams will bring their ‘A’ game against us and make it difficult for us. We’re fully prepared for that now, and hopefully we can go on another run.
“It’s good to be at the top again and our aim is not to move from there for the rest of the season. We’ve got Dundee United and another couple of teams below them biting at our ankles, so we need to be on our toes. If we keep at it, hopefully we can start getting a wee gap.”