Michael Weir: Hibs must make home a fortress

Hibs fans came out in force against Malmo. Picture:  Greg Macvean
Hibs fans came out in force against Malmo. Picture: Greg Macvean
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The back-to-back victories we had hoped for failed to materialise after being held to a disappointing goalless draw at home to Ross County on Saturday – the only positive to arise was not conceding a goal for the first time this season.

As the weeks pass by, the players will begin to appreciate that unless we start winning on a regular basis then we are likely to become embroiled in a dogfight at the bottom of the table – a completely different pressure to what we are encountering just now.

The atmosphere at Easter Road against Malmo proved that if we can put together some positive results, the supporters have the potential to make the Holy Ground one of the most difficult venues to visit for opposing teams – far from the sparse numbers flocking through the gates at this moment.

It has been a number of years since we’ve been able to make use of any home advantage and if the truth be told, Easter Road has simply become a stadium most sides in the league look forward to playing at.

The supporters again vented their frustrations against Ross County, both during and after the match, which is not surprising given the hugely disappointing outcome. I would imagine most opposing team managers would divulge this piece of information to their squads in pre-match team talks as a method of spurring their players on to victory. Of course fans can create a poisonous atmosphere for even the most accomplished visiting sides, yet they can also get right on the backs of their own players should things not be going according to plan where this nervousness becomes a weakness in the long run.

Our inability to score goals has forced the manager to dip into the transfer market once again with the addition of former Kilmarnock striker Paul Heffernan and French winger Abdellah Zoubir. There have certainly been an influx of players entering the club over the past few seasons, but, from Leigh Griffiths apart, there haven’t been many who have performed at the level expected. However, Heffernan has proved he knows his route to goal and if he can transfer his goalscoring pedigree from the blue-and-white of Kilmarnock into the green-and-white of Hibs, then he could just be the bright spark we need in the final third of the park.

We have fluttered with a few of the younger players from time to time, but in general the more experienced footballers who have come into the club haven’t taken the opportunity given to them. There are challenging times ahead for the new squad of players assembled together by Pat Fenlon and if they don’t start to put results together soon, their test of character will soon come under the spotlight.

The manager has shown by his latest signings that he appreciates we must be a bit more adventurous, especially at home where the onus will always be on us to attack and is the traditional Hibs way of playing the game. The league so far this season has shown there are no easy games and every single point is going to have to be earned. The likes of Partick Thistle will want to maintain their Scottish Premiership status after such a long period in the doldrums and other sides are also beginning to get their acts together.

With the international break now upon us once more, the players will have the opportunity to rest up, dust themselves down, and be ready for our visit to Perth to take on St Johnstone in just under a fortnight’s time.

The Saints have already underlined their ability this season with their achievements in the Europa League qualifiers so we are under no illusions of how difficult a match this will be. However, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is we start to pick up victories.