Darren McGregor is adamant Saturday’s defeat at Livingston should not be taken as a sign that Hibs are set to endure a difficult campaign.
Many supporters have been left fretting after an abject 2-1 defeat in West Lothian that left the Easter Road side with just five points from their opening four Premiership matches.
McGregor insists there is no need for panic, however, and is still expecting another positive campaign for his team despite a summer in which the departure of midfield pair Dylan McGeouch and John McGinn has left significant voids.
“The last few weeks have been difficult, football can change so quickly,” said the defender. “A couple of weeks ago after the Asteras Tripolis game (in Greece) it was great, we were in the third round of Europe, we had won our first league game (against Motherwell) convincingly. We came off the back of a draw at home to Aberdeen which on the face of it I didn’t think was a bad result. And then we go to Livingston, a team we were expected to beat, and we lose.
“But for me it is still a difficult place to go, they play to their strengths. They are very physical and it looked a physical game, unfortunately we never dealt with it the way we should have. We’re not god enough to turn up at half mast and expect to win. You get done when you do that, no matter who you are playing.
“We’re well aware we’ve not had the greatest of starts but when you look at each game in isolation, Motherwell on the opening day we did brilliantly, St Johnstone away is a difficult place to go and they’re our bogey team, Aberdeen at home, again difficult, then obviously Livingston where we were expected to win. Apart from that game, we’ve done okay.”
McGregor acknowledges that McGinn has left a gaping hole in Hibs’ midfield but is confident they can overcome the Scotland internationalist’s recent departure to Aston Villa and continue moving in the right direction.
“We knew before McGinn left that he’d be irreplaceable but you’re hoping you can bring in a few guys to offset that because obviously the wage structure in Scottish football doesn’t allow you to get a player or John McGinn’s quality,” he said. “We’ve nurtured him to the point where he’s impossible to replace but I think the guys who have come in have done really well. Daryl Horgan’s got tenacity and aggression and he’s chipped in with goals. Stevie Mallan is a danger with set-pieces, then we’ve got Thomas Agyepong, Emerson Hyndman and we’ve managed to retain Flo (Kamberi) and Jamie (Maclaren). It’s very early days but we’re definitely in a good place and I think we’ll do well.”