Hibs striker Simon Murray has revealed his early-season goal rush is simply down to following boss Neil Lennon’s orders to “stick between the sticks”.
The flame-haired frontman took his tally to five in three games with a hat-trick in the Easter Road outfit’s 6-1 Betfred Cup demolition of Arbroath, having also scored twice in the victory over Montrose – both former clubs of the 25-year-old.
It was the perfect treble against the Red Lichties, a first-half header followed by a left-footed tap-in from Martin Boyle’s low cross and a right-footed volley in the dying seconds from Steven Whittaker’s pass.
“Every hat-trick is the perfect hat-trick,” claimed Murray. “But I was absolutely delighted, It’s always good to get goals early in the season. I’m getting great service so it’s my job to get into good areas.
“You will miss some, but you just have to make sure you keep getting into those positions to keep putting them away.”
Although he scored 18 goals for Dundee United last season, Murray admitted there were times at Tannadice when he had to go foraging himself for openings but now he believes there will be chances aplenty given the team-mates he has around him.
When it was pointed out to him that all five goals have come from close-range, he said: “Last year I perhaps drifted into the wider areas to create the chance to get a shot away. But here the gaffer wants us to be between the sticks, I’ve been told to stay between the posts.
“The quality of players we have we can get the ball into the areas and it’s my fault if I am not there, so to have five goals already is very pleasing.”
Teenage striker Ryan Porteous chipped in with his first two goals for the club, while Scotland midfielder John McGinn also got off the mark, Lennon delighted to have seen the strikes being shared around.
The head coach said: “People saying we lack goals is nonsense. We played well against Ross County on Friday and were unlucky not to score. Now we’ve scored six. I was disappointed at half-time with the scoreline (2-1 ) but we had been excellent, we played good football with a good tempo, pace, movement and good quality.”
Meanwhile, Hibs will be without Danny Swanson for Saturday’s match against Alloa Athletic, the midfielder having picked up bookings against both County and Arbroath, thus incurring a one-game ban.