Michael Weir: Hibs’ season gets a shot in the arm

Scott Robertson races off to celebrate after grabbing an equalising goal for Hibs. Picture: SNS
Scott Robertson races off to celebrate after grabbing an equalising goal for Hibs. Picture: SNS
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The wait for our first victory of the season continues although the much-talked about goal drought has finally ended as Scott Robertson’s late strike on Saturday was enough to take a point against Dundee United.

Pat Fenlon seems confident that when we do start to put the points on the board, the players will start to show their true ability, both individually and collectively.

The loss of an Edinburgh derby always takes a considerable time to get over, a lot longer than some may think. Taking this into account, taking our first point of the new season may go a long way to building some belief within the Hibs changing-room.

No footballer enjoys being scrutinised by the Press after a defeat, none more so than losing to your local rivals, but this is part and parcel of the job – it’s how you transform that negativity into something more positive that ultimately counts. The training ground can be a place where you can gather your thoughts and try to correct parts of your game.

It’s not as easy being a professional football player as some may think, but there is little doubt that when you’re part of a winning side and things are progressing nicely, there’s no better place to be than out on the football pitch. When you are in a position the Hibs players currently find themselves in at the moment, life can be very, very tough.

The more experienced pros of the game become accustomed to such criticism. The greatest piece of advice I was given was to work harder at your game and when out on the pitch, chase lost causes no matter how far stretched they may seem. I recall a time from spending a few days down at Old Trafford when trying to learn the secret to their success when I came across a training session that was specifically aimed at one player whose form had completely deserted him.

Step forward the proven goalscorer that was Andy Cole, with a bag of balls in an attempt to replicate match-day scenarios of finding himself in positions in and around the penalty box where a striker should be. This is perhaps why he became such a prolific finisher as he was prepared to work on his weaknesses and loss of form.

It would have been a welcome three points against Dundee United which would have relieved some of the pressure that has been mounting over the past couple of weeks, but I am confident securing our first goal in open play will put the players in a much better frame of mind ahead of the trip to Kilmarnock on Saturday.

The inability to score goals is the most difficult aspect of the game to rectify as any side can set up not to be beaten, but when you have to go and try and win football matches outright a completely different approach is needed altogether. Our European exit has contributed to a lot of the problems at the club at this moment in time, more than anyone could have anticipated however, without wanting to make any excuses for our poor performances over the two legs, I do not believe any club in Scotland are provided with a level playing field in these competitions at this stage of the season.

I truly believe our European adventure has proved more of a hindrance to our league preparations than a reward for the players’ efforts last season. I don’t think many of the Hibs side will have taken any positives from our matches against Malmo whatsoever. Of course it’s great to play on the European stage, a platform to showcase your ability on an international stage and test yourself against some of the best players in the world. However, many of the youngsters at the club are still likely to be reeling from such a mauling which is not what you want so early in the new campaign.