Dylan McGeouch: Three-week break won’t hamper Hibs

Dylan McGeouch can't wait to get stuck in against Falkirk
Dylan McGeouch can't wait to get stuck in against Falkirk
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Dylan McGeouch believes Hibs are ready to pick up where they left off, determined not to let an enforced three-week break interrupt a 15-match unbeaten run stretching back almost four months.

Alan Stubbs’ players were desperate to get back into action last week only to have their Championship match against Morton called off because of the incessant rain which was falling on Greenock.

But as disappointed as they were, McGeouch insisted the extra seven days the players have had to wait has only served to sharpen their appetite even further.

And the fact they swing back into action against third-placed Falkirk, a side breathing down their necks just as Hibs are with leaders Rangers, will help focus minds, declared the midfielder.

The visit of the Bairns kicks off an important month for Hibs with Queen of the South in Edinburgh next weekend before Hibs end 2015 by a trip to Ibrox three days after Christmas, a period the midfielder is adamant the players are relishing.

He said: “There are big games coming up and, as a player, these are the ones you want to be involved in.

“We’re chasing Rangers but Falkirk are doing very well so it’s good to have that competition, it keeps everyone on their toes.

“There’s a tough game every week so you just have to concentrate on each game as it comes along and so far we’ve done pretty well, now it’s a case of making sure we keep this run going.”

Such is the confidence within Stubbs’ squad that McGeouch admitted the expectation each week is of winning but without losing sight of the fact that any victory has to be earned.

To underline that point, he highlighted Hibs’ last match, an away trip to basement outfit Alloa Athletic, a game which was only won by that single goal scored by Jason Cummings.

Only a 1-1 draw at home against St Mirren blights the current winning streak and the reaction to that result, said McGeouch, simply highlights the demands at Easter Road, the result treated more as if Hibs had lost 3-0 rather than being held by the side which had just dropped out of the Premiership.

He said: “That result was a real disappointment and it shows how far we have come under the gaffer that we are still talking about it weeks later.

“With the players we have, the quality of the squad, the fans, the size of the club, we are expected to win every week and it’s a huge disappointment if we don’t.

“But the players have that belief in their own ability and the quality of the squad, it’s not arrogance but a confidence.”

Time was when an indifferent result prompted the inevitable question to Stubbs as to his side’s “bottle,” or, more pointedly, a lack of it.

Now, though, there’s no such debate. McGeouch said: “We’ve gone out there and won with a bit of style. We’ve won by digging in and grinding out results and we’ve come out on top in a few tough, tight games where we’ve shown real grit and determination.

“To build up a run of 15 matches without defeat needs a lot of character, a resilience and desire to win, a determination not to end up on the losing side – all of these things.

“We’re flying at the moment and we want to keep the run going and not give anyone a reason to question us.”

McGeouch, however, agreed having a three-week break “wasn’t ideal”, but insisted that period had been put to good use, a few days off followed by tough training sessions.

The 22-year-old said: “I was waiting with the rest of the Glasgow-based boys to be picked up on the way to Greenock when we got the call to say the game was off.

“We’d all been desperate to get playing again but we’ve got some good training in, good fitness work and the lads who’ve had wee niggles have been able to get over them.

“We also had an 11-a-side game between ourselves at the beginning of the week. It wasn’t a full 90 minutes, but a chance to get the legs opened up in a game situation.

“It just shows the strength in depth we have that we were able to stage such a match – there were two good teams out there.

“And it was also pretty competitive because there are boys wanting to get into the team and that was an opportunity for them to prove themselves.

“It’s a big squad and we all know that if we don’t keep our standards high then there’s someone waiting to grab their chance to make a place in the team their own.

“It’s a case of keeping your own personal levels up and doing your best to ensure you stay there so I don’t think there are any worries at all about us losing momentum.

“We’re just looking to pick up where we left off.”

• Former Hibs player David Farrell will be in the clubstore from 12.30 to 1.30pm tomorrow to sign copies of his book “Taxi for Farrell” before visiting hospitality guests in the Edinburgh Suite in the main stand.