Hibs got their season up and running on the opening day with a win over Partick Thistle – now Steven Whittaker is hoping a repeat performance can inject fresh impetus into the club’s campaign.
Whittaker admitted that after a three-year absence from the top flight it was important he and his team-mates got off to a winning start although they had to come from behind to clinch the three points as Chris Erskine had the Jags ahead after only seven minutes.
But goals from Martin Boyle, Whittaker himself and a Simon Murray penalty secured the three points and while they’ve enjoyed some ups and downs since, Neil Lennon’s players sit in fourth place but very much within striking distance of Aberdeen in second.
The 33-year-old said: “It wasn’t quite the plan we had pictured in that first game. I think there were high things expected of us coming back into the Premiership so it was disappointing to go behind.
“I don’t think we started the game well but the goal probably woke us up a bit, we took the game to them and managed to win quite comfortably in the end.
“It was imporant to win right away, you don’t want to be chasing that first win. You get it on the board as quickly as possible, build on it and go from there.”
Whittaker admitted that at that point he and his team-mates would have been pretty happy to be in their current position but, he argued, they could easily be sitting in a much loftier place but for points dropped.
While a few had slipped through their fingers before the latest international break, those dropped against St Johnstone and Hamilton since have been particularly sorely felt and with today’s match at Firhill the first of seven fixtures in December, Whittaker agreed they were anxious to take the three points on offer ahead of the daunting prospect of thereafter facing Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen – the three teams ahead of them in the table – in the space of just six days.
Lennon went on the record before a ball was kicked claiming his players were capable of finishing second – Celtic bagging yet another title a given – but, insisted Whittaker, it was a claim which the Easter Road squad took in their stride.
The former Rangers and Norwich City defender said: “You need to have ambition, something to aim for. The manager keeps demanding more from the squad, he does that on a daily basis. He demands a lot from us and we try to match them as best we can.
“I don’t think we are surprised at the start we have made, we have fairly good depth in the squad, good quality and we knew if we could find some consistency we would hopefully be up towards the top end albeit we probably believe at the minute that we have dropped points in games.
“We believe we should have a higher points tally which would put us in an even more comfortable position. We’ve got tough matches in December then the winter break followed by the latter stages of the season.
“There’s still a lot of football to be played so we’ll keep approaching each game as it comes in the right manner and hopefully we can maintain our position.
“At the start of the season we’d have been quite happy to be where we are at the moment, although we feel we should have more points. But all-in-all we feel we have had a fairly successful start to the season. We want to maintain that through December and then after the winter break.”