It would be fair to say the big decisions on Friday night at Fir Park went in our favour. The officials certainly didn’t cover themselves in glory and we can consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have been going in at half-time in front, courtesy of David Wotherspoon’s excellent strike. However, there is no argument to be had on this occasion where Motherwell defender Stevie Hammell’s header was clearly over the line, a goal that wasn’t given and Hibs were able to take advantage.
But let’s not take credit away from a Hibs side that turned in a very accomplished performance and thoroughly deserved their victory. There were a number of composed individual displays from the men in green and white, Leigh Griffiths once again doing what he does best in putting the ball in the back of the net, Eoin Doyle working tirelessly up and down the left-wing, and the defence holding out for a much-needed clean sheet. But it was our counter-attacking play that proved to be incredibly effective, Motherwell enjoying considerable amounts of possession within the opening stages but ultimately failing to convert the opportunities that came their way.
When our chances arrived to open up the home side’s defence, we seized the opportunity and took advantage. I think the enthusiasm and confidence of our star striker Leigh Griffiths is now starting to rub off on the rest of his team-mates. There is an arrogance sweeping through Griffiths’ game at the moment which is simply a joy to watch. Sitting top of the SPL’s scoring chart with nine goals so far underlines the rich vein of form he is in and long may this continue. With any player performing at the top of his game, each game cannot come quick enough. Griffiths carries a threat every time he is on the ball and is a very dangerous player for defenders looking to stop him in his tracks.
Arrogance is a trait within football that must be earned on the field of play. As a young player myself lining up in an Edinburgh derby, I recall Sandy Jardine displaying such mannerisms as he comfortably led the Hearts back four throughout the entire game despite his playing days drawing to a close. A long successful career with Glasgow Rangers, the highlight coming in 1972 when he starred in the side that defeated Dynamo Moscow in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, his professionalism was second to none.
Putting together a winning run in the league at the moment seems to be a momentous task for most sides, but I am convinced if we can show a consistency in our next few games, we will find ourselves in a very comfortable position going into the festive period. This is easier said than done, but the victories we have managed this season have shown we are a different kettle of fish from last year. My only real concern hangs on the limited numbers we have within the squad, but perhaps this will improve when the January transfer window reopens for business. However, I must congratulate young Danny Handling on scoring his first goal for the club on Friday night, a composed finish which put the final gloss on our victory.
We now have the advantage of back-to-back home fixtures with St Mirren the first to arrive at Easter Road on Saturday before Dundee United are the visitors the following weekend. The Paisley outfit have so far shown an inconsistency that has contributed to their lowly position in the league, but have the firepower in attack to cause us all sorts of problems. This is our opportunity to put some distance between ourselves and the chasing pack, and taking six points is well within our grasp. We have produced some of our best displays in the league at home this season. There is a confidence flowing throughout the side and, despite suffering a setback last weekend against Ross County, we found the inner-strength to get back on the winning trail.