The players will have arrived for training this morning with a sense of relief after the crucial 3-2 victory over Dunfermline at East End Park.
Saturday’s outcome has by no means ensured our safety as a Premier League side with many twists and turns expected to follow between now and the end of the season. However, the three points achieved have restored some pride back to the Hibs camp whilst providing us with that little bit more breathing space.
The weekend’s defeat of the Pars could be the most important victory we achieve this season. A four-point gap between the sides doesn’t sound anything too substantial but what’s important is how both sets of players react in wake of this result. I said within my last piece that Saturday’s fixture in Fife was a must-win game for the club if we were to avoid becoming marooned at the foot of the SPL. To the players’ credit, they showed a passion and determination that was refreshing for the large Hibs support that had travelled over the Forth for the game.
Overall, it was one of our better performances of late but the standout for me was the performance of Isaiah Osbourne, who was outstanding despite only returning to the team after being out injured for more than a month. His energy both in defending and going forward was flawless as he showed great authority to lead the team with his vision and ability to find the spare man. Leigh Griffiths again demonstrated his striking capabilities with two superb finishes and looks to be finding a bit of form after netting last week against Cowdenbeath. With Griffiths, Garry O’Connor and Eoin Doyle all vying for the positions up top, it is encouraging to have witnessed all three find the back of the net recently which will provide some food for thought for the management team.
We now must focus on gaining a bit of momentum having recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season. We welcome the visit of St Johnstone on Saturday where we can approach this match with some new-found confidence. Easter Road hasn’t been its usual self this season with lower attendances and only one victory to shout about which is not what we supporters are used to. But it makes me laugh when I hear people saying that the players don’t feel the pain in defeat as much as the paying punter. I can assure you the dressing room is not a happy place to be when suffering defeat after defeat. But as individuals, we learn to handle these setbacks in different ways where some players show greater strength in character than others. It is not enjoyable facing friends, family and supporters when things just aren’t clicking on the field but we can now focus on the task in hand with more optimism.
Every club suffers from a loss in form but I just hope valuable lessons have been learned which will stand us in good stead for the future. If the truth be told, to be placed in such a precarious position is something that shouldn’t have occurred with the infrastructure we possess at the club. We cannot afford to relax and must look to improve the personnel within the squad on a consistent basis both at the beginning of each season and during the January transfer window. Investment on the pitch is what’s needed to recapture the imagination of the Hibs supporters who are spending their hard-earned cash to come and watch the team.
It should be a priority to turn Easter Road into a fortress and make it an uncomfortable 90 minutes as possible for any visiting side in the SPL. This is what will ultimately entice the Hibs faithful back through the turnstiles and fill the seats around the stadium once again.
On a final note, it was good to see us handed a home tie in the next round of the Scottish Cup against either Dundee or Kilmarnock. However, we must focus all our energy into the next few league games as the cup tie will take care of itself when the time comes.