Daryl Horgan admits he needs to fine-tune aspects of his game before he is operating at full pelt for Hibs.
The Irish international winger has shown glimpses of his quality in the ten starts and five substitute appearances he has made since arriving in August from Preston North End. The 26-year-old signed a three-year contract in what was viewed as a significant coup by manager Neil Lennon, but he concedes that he is still striving to find the consistency that will enable him to get to the level he knows he is capable of.
“I’ve been in and out the team so far and that’s probably a reflection of my form, up and down,” Horgan told the Evening News. “I need to get more consistent and that will hopefully result in a more consistent run in the team. There are bits of my game I definitely need to improve upon and other bits I’m quite happy with. Hopefully I can keep improving and contributing to the team.”
Although Horgan is still trying to establish himself as a regular starter at Hibs, he has enjoyed being more prominently involved during his time in Edinburgh after falling out of favour at Preston in the second half of last season.
“I’m just enjoying playing every game,” he said. “I had a tough spell last year where I wasn’t playing as much as I’d have liked so I’m excited for every match we play at the moment. I’m just enjoying it whoever we’re playing. I’ve really enjoyed being at Hibs. It’s been brilliant. The lads are great, it’s a brilliant club, a lovely city. Unfortunately the results we’ve had recently have put a bit of a dampener on things over the last few weeks but thankfully we’ve snapped out of that.”
Horgan believes there is far too much quality within the Hibs squad for them to remain in eighth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership. He feels they have shown signs of their potential as a unit this season but admits they have lacked the killer touch when it has been required.
The Irishman senses, however, that he and his team-mates are on the verge of igniting and banishing the gloom that has been hovering around the club over the past month or so.
“We’ve played quite a lot of good stuff this season but I think sometimes we’re just missing that last little bit, the last pass or the finish, which is usually the most important bit,” said Horgan. “That’s been lacking at times but it feels like it’s coming.
“There’s been a lot of new faces coming into the team. Myself, Stevie Mallan, Emerson Hyndman and Mark Milligan are all pretty new to the team so it can take a bit of time to gel. I think there’s been a lot of good stuff but we just need to keep working on getting the last bit right. Once that happens, we’ll fly right up the table.
“There’s a lot of quality attacking players here and we’ve also got attack-minded full-backs, and the manager wants to play with attacking intent so I don’t think we’ve got a long way to go until we’re moving in the right direction. Everything changes with a win or two. Everything gets scrutinised when you’re not winning but when you get a few wins, all those little things disappear into the wind.”
Horgan is hoping that will be the case after the team returned to winning ways by defeating 1-0 away to Hamilton Accies last weekend. The former Dundalk winger came off the bench in Lanarkshire to provide the cross from which Oli Shaw scored the game’s decisive goal. He believes that vital strike can be a turning point for the team. “It was a massive relief to get the win at the weekend because it just keeps building the longer you go without one,” said Horgan. “Four games without a win, five games, six games. . . I think in a few of those games we actually played well but didn’t get the result we deserved so it was important to get over the line at Hamilton on Saturday. We played well and I thought we could actually have won by more. Winning helps make everything better throughout the team. When you’re not winning, everything gets scrutinised. You look at yourself and everyone else to try and figure out what’s going wrong but everybody seems happier this week.
“Although we’ve not been playing as well as we can recently, we’ve also been missing that wee bit luck you sometimes need to win games.
“Against St Mirren, for example, they only had two shots on goal and we drew 2-2. Thankfully it worked out for us on Saturday. Hopefully we can pick up a few wins now and kick ourselves up the table.”