Tom Soares wants Hibs to address hideous home form

Tom Soares
Tom Soares
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There’s nothing quite so brutal in football as a relegation battle, the fight to avoid the drop which leaves one team breathing a sigh of relief and the other in tears.

Such a scenario would open up a gap of six points between the clubs, one Soares and his team-mates would seek to widen over the coming weeks but, he acknowledged, that with just one SPL home win in an entire calendar year it could be easier said than done.

The on-loan midfielder’s jaw dropped when, ahead of the visit tomorrow of St Mirren, that statistic was put to him, the 25-year-old conceding such a record was “quite shocking” and one which went quite a way to explaining just why Hibs find themselves in their current predicament.

Boss Fenlon has, of course, made moves to extricate the Edinburgh club from the threat of relegation, Soares just one of eight players brought in during the course of the January transfer window in a bid to do so.

The immediate effect was somewhat mixed, a William Hill Scottish Cup triumph over Kilmarnock followed by a draw against Aberdeen and the bitter disappointment of losing nine goals in the space of a few days as Hibs went down to Celtic and Motherwell. An emphatic victory against Killie at Rugby Park, however, put the smiles back on the faces of the Hibs support but, more importantly, handed the Capital side a three-point advantage over the Pars as they went down by the same 3-1 margin to St Johnstone.

Today Soares, who claimed his first two goals for Hibs in Ayrshire, said: “It’s important we take the performance against Kilmarnock and Motherwell, two great displays despite the narrow defeat at Fir Park, into tomorrow’s match.

“One league win at home in a year is quite shocking, most definitely. If you have any hopes of having a good season you need a decent home record and that’s why the gaffer has brought players in to make the squad stronger. Hopefully that’s a statistic we can start to change, beginning with tomorrow’s game.”

While insisting he and his team-mates must concentrate on doing the greatest good for themselves, Soares and his team-mates will undoubtedly want to know the outcome of Dunfermline’s clash with Motherwell, now chasing a Champions League place, immediately on the final whistle.

It’s an act which will certainly be reciprocated on the other side of the Forth come 4.50pm, and Soares knows only too well just how deflating it’s likely to be for Jim McIntyre’s side if they learn that Hibs have won again.

Having experienced the ecstasy and agony of promotion and relegation with Crystal Palace, Soares suffered the ignominy of taking the drop with both Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic during loan spells from his parent club Stoke City and it is one he doesn’t want to go through again.

He said: “Tomorrow is probably a bigger game than last week in the sense that if we win and they lose we’ll be six points ahead. That will make it a lot harder for them but throughout the match we can’t afford to worry about what is happening to them, we have to look after ourselves.

“I know it sounds awful to talk of hoping that another side lose but it’s part and parcel of the game and when all is said and done you’d rather it’s them than us.

“We shouldn’t be in this position, but we are. All the boys and the staff are working hard to get us out of it and we have the belief we will do so.”

Having got their noses in front of Dunfermline, Soares believes each passing game can deliver a psychological blow to the Pars provided Hibs can maintain their advantage, even more so if they can slowly but surely extend it.

He said: “When you are struggling and come off after a match to discover the team in front has won it does deflate you.

“Results don’t go your way, you come off having got a draw and thinking you’ve done not too badly but then find out the other ream has won and you are even further away from them. That’s what we have to do, to concentrate on ourselves and worry only about what we are going to do.”

And Soares believes the fact that, like himself Roy O’Donovan, Isaiah Osbourne and Matt Doherty have all grabbed their first goals in a green-and-white shirt over the course of the last two games can only help in their bid for survival.

He said: “Perhaps there’s been a wee bit of an over-reliance on Garry O’Connor and Leigh Griffiths, the pressure has been on them to score and when that is the case it makes it a bit easier for the opposition to isolate them and restrict the chances they have.

“But if we have goals coming from all over the pitch rather than just from the front men then it becomes all the harder for them to stop us.

I was delighted to get my two last week, it’s something I feel I need to bring into my game.

“I feel I am decent at finishing in training but I need to get myself into the right positions, to make those runs into the box and hopefully I’ll be able to chip in with a few more.”