Having played with several accomplished strikers in my career, you realise how integral they are to any winning side.
There would be many a game in which their influence had been minimal, but they had the knack of putting away the one chance given to them that would win the match. That’s what makes these players that little bit special.
Dominique Malonga is proving to be Hibs’ man cut from that cloth right now. He is fast becoming a fans’ favourite with his ability to find the net from all sorts of angles and it was pleasing to see the Congolese internationalist score his first hat-trick for his new club on Saturday at Dumbarton. Alan Stubbs has also been quick to highlight the contributions of midfielder Scott Allan and rightly so, but having a consistent goalscorer within the ranks is invaluable to the team.
Dumbarton have shown already this season that to come away from “the Rock” with all three points is a formidable task and, despite the final scoreline on Saturday, I am sure most Hibs supporters would admit to having their doubts midway through the second half. Malonga eased those though with a superb attacking display and we’re now finding out just how good a player we’ve got on our hands.
As we all know, the disappointments this season have mainly come when playing in front of our own supporters and this is one aspect we will have to improve if we are to make any impression on the teams above us. However, our away form has been exemplary and this is something that has not been said about a Hibs side for many years.
We now head into a run of games that could really define our season and we will be looking to firstly avenge our defeat by Alloa earlier in the season when we travel to Clackmannanshire on Scottish Cup duty. Falkirk, Alloa again in the league and Raith Rovers follow before we face perhaps our biggest rivals this season in Rangers at Easter Road between Christmas and New Year.
This set of fixtures will give us a clearer picture of what needs to be done as we head into 2015 and what targets are still achievable.