Daryl Horgan: Hibs can take nine points from three remaining fixtures
Hibs winger Daryl Horgan admitted losing a late derby equaliser was “a kick in the teeth” but claimed he and his team-mates can win all three of their remaining matches to clinch a possible Europa League place.
Horgan, who had scored both goals in the Easter Road side’s victory at Tynecastle a month ago, saw Hearts skipper Christophe Berra turn his cross into his own net after team-mate Marc McNulty had missed from the penalty spot.
But rather than go on and claim the win which would have taken them just two points behind fourth-placed Kilmarnock, Hibs surrendered their advantage as Uche Ikpeazu hauled the Jambos level six minutes from time.
Irishman Horgan admitted he and his team-mates had dropped their guard, conceding they had handed the initiative to Hearts rather than going on to secure victory.
However, as disappointed as Paul Heckingbottom’s side ultimately were, Horgan insisted they won’t be giving up on the hope of Europe, pointing out that only a few months ago people were probably thinking more about avoiding relegation.
He said: “I thought we played really well for long stretches of the game, probably right up to their goal. We were a team massively in the ascendancy. So we’re disappointed by the way we reacted to them changing the game.
“Once we scored they went hell for leather, they had nothing to lose then and we didn’t play like we had been. We didn’t pass the ball the way we should have and we didn’t create any more opportunities.
“I thought we played some really good stuff, we created numerous opportunities and even though they didn’t go in I thought we were excellent.
“But to take that backstep was a disappointment. I don’t know if it was a subconscious thing about trying to protect what we had or that Hearts knocked us back a bit – I think it was a bit of both. We just dropped off too much and we reacted more to the game, we just didn’t continue playing as we were. We should have kept going, kept passing and trying to play up.
“But unfortunately, for whatever reason, we stopped. Sometimes that happens in football, you do drop off and try and protect what you have. There wasn’t long left and we tried to see it out and unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Hibs go into their last three matches, away to Rangers and at home to Killie and Aberdeen, four points behind the Rugby Park outfit but Horgan is adamant there’s still all to play for.
“It’s a kick in the teeth but we’ll dust ourselves down and be ready for the trip to Ibrox,” he said. “It’s two points dropped for us but thankfully we still have to play Kilmarnock and Aberdeen and go to Ibrox next so the aim is to pick up nine points. It won’t be easy because every top-six game is a battle but, if we can pick up the nine points, I’d be confident we would be in fourth place given we have still to play Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.”