The Hibs player finding most joy in 3-5-2, Hearts attacker fails to cement a place, perfect viewing for new Tranent boss - this weekend's winners and losers

The winners and losers from football across the Lothians over the weekend

By Craig Fowler
Monday, 17th February 2020, 4:45 pm

WINNERS

Paul Hanlon (Hibs)

The Easter Road stalwart didn't have his critics to seek this season as a near ever-present in a Hibs backline that leaked goals with alarming consistency. But the 30-year-old seems to have turned things around in recent weeks and looks to be benefitting from the change of formation as much as anyone in Jack Ross' squad. Since the team was reshaped into a 3-5-2, Hanlon has taken up a familiar position on the left of a back three. Not only did this suit his ability to take the football out of defence and find a pass, not to mention the occasional maurade down the wing, it also seems to be improving his defending as he demonstrated with another immense performance in the 2-1 win over Kilmarnock. With Adam Jackson improving alongside him and Paul McGinn looking like a canny addition on the right of the back-three, Hibs appear to have finally found the right formula at the back to make a run at the European places.

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Paul Hanlon applauds the Hibs fans at full time in Ayrshire. Picture: SNS

Greg Docherty (Hibs)

The Rangers midfielder has been excellent since joining Hibs on deadline day. That in itself isn't a surprise. Docherty is a great player at this level and he'll have every right to feel aggrieved about his lack of first-team opportunities at Ibrox. But what has been a pleasant bonus for Hibs fans is the manner in which he's come right into the team and been a talismanic presence in the middle of the park. Considering some of his biggest attributes are energy, direct running, strength and power, one might have assumed it would take him a few weeks to get up to speed, seeing as he hadn't played for Rangers since August. Or, perhaps even more thrillingly for Easter Road supporters, he could still be running at 80 per cent and the very best is yet to come.

Johnny Harvey (Tranent Juniors)

The new Tranent boss must be feeling pretty good about his decision to take over the East of Scotland side as he watched them dismantle Penicuik Athletic with a 5-2 victory that saw them lead 4-0 at half time. It was the last game in charge for caretaker boss David McGlynn who kept the hotseat warm while Harvey went on a pre-booked holiday to Tenerife. Brad Donaldson fired in the opener, before team-mates Kyle Lander, Lewis Hawkins and Stephen MacDonald put the game out of sight before the break. Penicuik pulled a couple back but MacDonald rounded out the scoring late on to put an exclamation point on the win.

Bonnyrigg Rose

Bonnyrigg refuse to give up on the Lowland League title race as they kept pace with Kelty Hearts at the top with a fine 4-0 win over Edinburgh University. The Rose trail Barry Ferguson's men by six points but retain two games in hand. The sides are still to meet each other twice before the season finishes. It's very much all to play for.

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LOSERS

Uche Ikpeazu (Hearts)

It's probably harsh to single out any Hearts player because, frankly, they all deserved criticism after the shocking performance in the 2-2 draw against ten-man Hamilton Accies, but Ikpeazu probably had the worst of it. The big striker was hauled off at half-time as manager Daniel Stendel decided he'd seen enough. Still without a goal since September, the 24-year-old had at least put in some tireless performances off the bench in recent weeks as he'd made a suitable impact coming on to harry the tired defenders of Rangers, St Johnstone and Kilmarnock. But granted a chance against Hamilton to stake a claim for a regular starting spot with Steven Naimsith dropping to midfield he failed to make the most of it. He couldn't have been surprised when Donis Avdijaj came on in his place. And while we're on the subject...

Donis Avdijaj (Hearts)

The January signing has played just 116 minutes for Hearts since joining on loan from Trabzonspor but the Tynecastle faithful already seemed to have made up their mind on the winger, who didn't cover himself in glory after coming off the bench against Hamilton. When he wasn't losing possession or giving away silly fouls, Avdijaj was overhitting crosses and feeling the ire of the home support. The 23-year-old talked himself up after joining in the last window, but at the moment he looks more likely to be the next (albeit slimmer version of) David Vanecek than the type of player Hearts need to get them out of trouble.

Blair Henderson (Edinburgh City)

It looks set to be the defining moment in the League Two title race. The chance fell for Edinburgh City and their typically deadly striker late in the second half of their trip to league leaders Peterhead. Score and Edinburgh may well have hung on for a massive three points that would've put them level with their hosts at the top of the table and given a massive confidence boost to James McDonaugh's men. Instead, Henderson spurned the opportunity, and Rory McAllister's goal two minutes from time gave Cove Rangers a massive victory as Paul Hartley's squad now lead Edinburgh by six points with 12 games remaining.

Dunbar United

The club with the second worst away record in the East of Scotland League continued to struggle on their travels, even if they did give a good account of themselves against high-flying Broxburn Athletic, eventually losing 4-3 at the neutral venue of Livingston's Tony Macaroni Arena. Dunbar have picked up just four points from eight games on their travels, which is a big reason why they sit just four points from the bottom of the division.