HIBS fell drastically short yesterday from the level of performance we have come to expect from them this season.
It was a real opportunity for the team to put a fragile Rangers side to the sword and cement our position above them in the race for second place.
But for one reason or another, the players simply couldn’t get out of first gear and the Ibrox outfit fully deserved to come away with all three points.
The midfield quartet of Scott Robertson, Scott Allan, Dylan McGeouch and Fraser Fyvie simply failed to stamp their authority on proceedings and this allowed our opponents to seize the upper hand.
Rangers looked the far hungrier of the two and I don’t know if the record between the teams this year played right into their hands. Did the Hibs players just feel they had to turn up on the day given we had turned them over three times in the league already this season? I hope not because we cannot afford that sort of complacency at such a crucial stage in the season.
I hope yesterday was just a minor blip on our way to sealing second spot and we can regain our momentum in the remaining seven league fixtures this season.
There is no doubt the manager would have expected a great deal more from his players but sometimes in football you just have to give credit where it’s due.
Just as Alan Stubbs was credited for his tactics in our previous games against Rangers, Stuart McCall deserves some praise for how he set Rangers up in a way that nullified any threat Hibs may have had going forward.
Of course, yesterday’s defeat handed the league championship to our local rivals, who have been relentless from day one. They are worthy champions.
There is still a lot of football to be played and I expect many twists and turns along the way. However, we must return to winning ways as quickly as possible, starting with Saturday’s trip to Kirkcaldy to face Raith Rovers. We haven’t had to bounce back from too many defeats over the past six months, so this weekend’s game will be a big test of character for us.