Colin CALDERWOOD has hailed Hibs’ stirring Scottish Communities League Cup victory at Fir Park as proof that his team has the potential to play at a higher standard than they have shown so far this season.
After the Easter Road side put their SPL woes aside to beat Motherwell 7-6 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in normal time, the delighted manager said the Hibs fans present had witnessed first-hand the true ability of their team.
“I’m sure the supporters who came thoroughly enjoyed that. It washes away any doubt about the level we can perform at,” said Calderwood. “I think we’ve got to take the enjoyment from it. I’m delighted with what the players have produced in front of a paying public. It’s what I see time after time in training.”
Garry O’Connor scored a brace to bring his tally of goals for the season to seven, while Mark Brown, in a rare appearance, produced two penalty shoot-out saves that won the game for the Capital side.
Calderwood is now urging his team to embrace a simple game in future weeks, citing a more straightforward style of play as far more effective against Motherwell. “They played with simplicity in the end – when we did that, we were better,” he said. “We tried too many extravagant balls, too many balls that were too long, too straight, and ignored easy passes. But when we went back to [simple football], we were able to move the ball quite quickly, and we looked as if we had energy in the team.”
Calderwood said that while his players will be buzzing from such a dramatic victory they must be careful to recover fully from the game before this weekend’s visit of Dundee United to Leith. He said: “You get energised from the excitement of the game. The fact we’ve gone 120 minutes is exertion enough, but at the tempo the game was played at and given how open it was, there was a huge demand on us.”
Goalkeeper Brown, who pulled off a number of impressive blocks in addition to his penalty saves, is unlikely to be rewarded with a start against United with Calderwood set to recall Graham Stack.