TOM TAIWO has been amazed by the dedication the Hibs fans have shown this season – he just wishes that the team had been able to reward them with three points on Saturday.
The former Chelsea starlet was disappointed to send the 2222 Hibs supporters who travelled to Dens Park home empty-handed at the weekend. Goals from Kyle Benedictus, Steven Milne and a Kevin McBride penalty gave Dundee something of a shock victory, while Leigh Griffiths could only pull one back in the final minute. The Hibs team went to the stand to clap their supporters for their backing at the end of a disappointing 90 minutes and Taiwo admitted that he couldn’t believe the lengths some of them go to in following their team.
Taiwo said: “Since I have joined this club, I have said to many people that it is amazing the way that they follow the team. Even away to Ross County, they filled the away end and that is a huge distance to travel to watch a football match.
“We really appreciate that.
“At the end of the match on Saturday, we went over to clap the fans who had travelled to Dundee because we know that it is a lot of effort, a lot of time and a lot of money to come along and support us.
“We want to do them proud and I am just sorry that we couldn’t give them the result that they were looking for.
“Hopefully we can put it right for them next weekend.”
It was the manner of the defeat which left manager Pat Fenlon and his players most disappointed on Saturday, having spent the last couple of months slowly creeping up on the top of the SPL table through sheer grit and effort.
Taiwo wants to see that kind of fighting spirit return to the side for the clash with Craig Brown’s men this weekend and went on: “We have shown against a lot of the so-called better teams that we can mix it a bit, we can be tough and we can also play some great football.
“We have been on a very good run of form and playing very well so Saturday came as a bit of a shock to us all, I think.
“It wasn’t good enough but hopefully we can put that right this weekend against Aberdeen. I think the result was down to a culmination of a few different things and you’ve got to remember that it is always difficult going to a place like Dens Park and trying to play a passing game without winning the battle first.”
And Taiwo insisted that it wasn’t a case of the Hibs team resting on their laurels against a Dundee side who are rooted to the foot of the SPL table right now, with boss Pat Fenlon using last Friday’s Evening News to warn that the Dark Blues would not lie down.
Taiwo continued: “The manager all week emphasised that Dundee were coming off the back of two good results and I don’t think there was any complacency. They are a hard-working team and we knew that, if we didn’t match them physically, that we wouldn’t be able to play our normal game.
“We certainly heeded the warnings but unfortunately we didn’t execute the gameplan as we should have done. The gaffer isn’t wrong. Anyone could see that we were lacking that bit of a spark. When little things go wrong, that is when you have got to pull together as a team and that didn’t happen.
“There is a great spirit in this squad but we didn’t perform as we could and should have done.”
And Taiwo, who has played for England at youth level but is also eligible to turn out for Nigeria through his paternal grandfather, is hoping that the weekend’s defeat can actually be used as a learning curve for what is still a relatively new Hibs side.
He added: “People always say that you learn more about your players and your team in a defeat than you do at any other time. The manager knows everyone of us well and he said in the changing-rooms after that game and he believes in us and he thinks that this was a one-off.
“That’s not the way that we play and we need to prove it to everyone by getting back to winning ways next weekend.”
Fenlon may decide to make changes for the game against the Dons, based on their showing against Dundee, and Taiwo conceded that each and every single player will have to be on their toes in training if they want to keep their place in a highly competitive squad.
“We have got quality substitutes in every position so you are always looking over your shoulder, knowing that a poor performance can result in you not being in the team.
“Obviously, everyone wants to be involved and not just that but also to be part of a successful side.”