Hibs 1-1 Rijeka debrief: Dazzling Doyle-Hayes, self-belief, positive signs

When the main takeaway from a Hibs European game is how comprehensively they should have beaten a Croatian side with a far superior co-efficient, then the general feeling is that something is going right.

By Patrick McPartlin
Friday, 6th August 2021, 12:30 pm
Jake Doyle-Hayes was very impressive in the Hibs midfield
Jake Doyle-Hayes was very impressive in the Hibs midfield

Hibs have come from behind to either win, or earn a point in their last three matches and given how much of a rarity comebacks were last season it bodes well for the new campaign.

The return of fans could also be helping but regardless, there’s a fight and a belief in the team that wasn’t always present in 2020/21.

Considering away goals don’t count any more, a 1-1 draw going into the return leg in Croatia is not the worst result to build on. You wouldn’t put it past Hibs to score in Rijeka – especially if they play like they did at Easter Road – and they have a real chance of progression if they can tighten up at the back and take their chances.

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The quality of options from the bench is something else Hibs didn't really have last term for a variety of reasons. That Jack Ross is able to bring on Scott Allan, Christian Doidge, Alex Gogic, and Daniel Mackay shows the strength in depth the squad has and while there are still one or two positions needing filled, on early viewings Hibs look to have a strong, balanced squad.

Player of the match

Jake Doyle-Hayes. Earned a start after his substitute appearance at Fir Park and ran the show in the midfield. Helped Hibs maintain the upper hand in midfield throughout and is showing just why he was brought to the club.

Defining moment

A toss-up between Lewis Stevenson hitting the post – which may have instilled a belief in Hibs that they could win the game – and Daniel Mackay’s effort in injury-time that Nediljko Labrović saved. Had that gone in, Hibs would have a useful advantage going into the return leg.

Ref watch

Juan Martínez Munuera seemed a little pernickety at times but he had a good handle on the match and got the big calls right. We’ve seen some officials give penalties that he waved away, but neither side could really complain about his performance.

Moment you may have missed

Not so much one moment but Doyle-Hayes was particularly vocal throughout, demanding the ball and directing his team-mates. Hard to believe he’s still only 22.

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