Michael Weir: Hibs must pull out big performance at Tannadice

Ayr's Nicky Devlin battles for the ball against Hibs' Andrew Shinnie. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey
Ayr's Nicky Devlin battles for the ball against Hibs' Andrew Shinnie. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey
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There’s no doubt about it, Hibs have got a real chance of retaining the Scottish Cup.

Yes, it’s a strong semi-final line-up and a tie against Aberdeen will be tough but we’ve proved before that we’re at our best on the big occasion against the strongest teams.

The semi-final is almost seven weeks away, though, so all thoughts of more Hampden glory need cast aside for the time being because I’m genuinely concerned that, like last season, we seem to be getting a bit side-tracked from the league.

Three points from a possible 12 is nowhere near good enough for a team going for a title. I think the players knew they’d let themselves down at St Mirren last week because they started strongly against a stuffy Ayr side, and the result never really looked in doubt. But we need more performances and results like Saturday’s in the league.

It would be great to win the Scottish Cup again, but the real business for us this season is to make sure we win the Championship and don’t end up in the play-offs again. In light of our recent league results, that is no certainty. We have a decent lead but that will vanish in no time if our league form continues as it has been over the past month.

I fear we’re giving the likes of Dundee United, Morton and Falkirk too much encouragement by failing to turn the screw at the top. Football can turn very quickly, and the way things are going, if we’re not careful, we’re going to get caught. We should have been strong enough to have had this league all but tied up by now, yet here we are coming under a bit of pressure with just two months of the campaign remaining. I hoped it would be smoother than this.

Injuries to key players like Paul Hanlon and Dylan McGeouch haven’t helped us and the fixtures have started coming thick and fast again. But with so much on the line and having been through this situation before, now is not a time for excuses.

We’ve got a massive fixture at Tannadice on Friday, and we desperately need to come away with a result. We’re a team who relish the big matches, and the United game definitely falls into that category. It’s time for us to pull out one of those big performances that we’ve produced so often in the cup competitions.