Achieving back-to-back league victories, only the second occasion we’ve managed such a feat all season, will have given the players a huge boost ahead of Thursday evening’s derby with Hearts.
Securing our second win at Dingwall in the space of a month was followed up by a very accomplished display against Kilmarnock yesterday at Easter Road in what was a thoroughly deserved victory for Hibs.
It was also pleasing to keep yet another clean sheet throughout 90 minutes – a robustness instilled within the back four that has been evident since Terry Butcher’s appointment.
But it was our overall display against Killie that impressed me most, our willingness to attack our opponents and looking to make things happen. We also kept both Kris Boyd and Chris Johnston at bay – a fine feat considering they had been so prolific at Tynecastle on Boxing Day just a few days earlier.
The busy period over Christmas is probably the most testing spell for both the players and management where sacrifices have to be made while your family and friends can relax and enjoy the festivities. But the two victories achieved in the space of just three days have been all the worthwhile. Trying to avoid injuries to key personnel is critical when the matches are coming thick and fast and I just hope we have a full squad to choose from for the visit of our city rivals.
Keeping in good shape at this time of year is a must for any professional footballer. There is, however, no secret formula as every individual can be so different. I, myself, recall a former manager who used to take us for a walk without touching a ball for two days prior to a game. All managers have their own agenda in how they approach matches at this time of year and, luckily for Hibs, we have such a man in Butcher who knows how to get the very best out of his squad.
Wins over both Ross County and Kilmarnock has given the manager a prime opportunity to get his first derby win as manager of Hibs. He is a figure who has played and managed in a lot of prestigious fixtures, but the Edinburgh derby is simply in a league of its own.