Alan Stubbs has hailed Fraser Fyvie as the unsung hero of a Hibs midfield which has helped guide the Easter Road side to a run of 14 games unbeaten, to within two points of Championship leaders Rangers and into the semi-finals of the League Cup.
While fellow midfielders John McGinn and Liam Henderson have been attracting all the headlines – and rightly so – head coach Stubbs has been impressed by the way in which Fyvie has quietly exerted his authority on matches.
After a spell on the sidelines initiated by a hamstring injury, the former Aberdeen and Wigan Athletic player has displayed a maturity beyond his 22 years in his role as anchorman in the middle of the park, providing the freedom for his team-mates to foray forward to create goal-scoring opportunities.
Much of his work, Stubbs insisted, probably goes unseen by many, but not by him. Although he pointed out that Fyvie, along with others, hadn’t quite hit the heights in Tuesday night’s win over Livingston, he said: “Fraser found himself out of the team because of injury and when he came back fit the team was playing well and he had to be patient a wait for his opportunity.
“Over the last three or four weeks his performances have been very good. He has show a real intelligence to be in the right place to keep mopping things up, to keep the continuity of that midfield balance. He has shown good understanding to do that. It’s not luck to find yourself in the right place at the right time.
“You have to try to think one step ahead. On the ball he is very assured, he sees things and his work-rate is exceptional. What he does hasn’t gone un-noticed by me but perhaps by other people because other players have got the headlines.
“But they complement each other, they’ve all played their part, John, Liam, Marvin Bartley, Dylan McGeouch.”
Meanwhile Stubbs admitted defender Paul Hanlon will be “touch and go” as to whether he’ll be available for Saturday’s trip to basement outfit Alloa Atheltic. Hanlon missed the win over Livingston with a “little niggle” which was described by his boss as “nothing,” before adding: “We are relaxed about it.
“We felt we did not want to take the risk of playing him. He might be okay for Saturday, he might not. But we have a couple of weeks break after that and if he misses out he will be available for the following game.”
Striker Dominique Malonga was expected back in Edinburgh today having travelled some 10,000 miles as part of Congo’s squad as they faced Ethiopia home and away in a World Cup qualifying double-header. The Hibs player was an unused substitute in both games.
Stubbs said: “We expect to see him today and he’ll train tomorrow and be ready for Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the special Remembrance Day shirts worn by Hibs players Dvid Gray, Jason Cummings, Liam Henderson and Marvin Bartley against St Mirren raised more than £1500 at auction, with the proceeds shared between Poppyscotland and the Hibernian Community Foundaton.
A second lot, the shirts worn by John McGinn, Paul Halon, Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson, Martin Boyle and Farid El Alagui and signed by the players, can now be bid for on the official Hibernian eBay account.